Is it time to shift your tribe?Shift your focus; mind your tribe! @simasays #cocktailnapkinquote #personalbrands #swayfactor Click To Tweet
Years ago I did a consulting engagement with a women who worked in sales for a large non-profit. It was a lucrative job but she wasn’t happy; she wanted to work for a smaller non-profit, in a more hands-on capacity. I asked her if she did any volunteer work for other NFPs, if she took any courses about NFP management… if she belonged to any of the trade associations or read journals about NFP operations. When she said no, I remember thinking to myself, “Well duh!”
Join A Local Organization
One of the best things I ever did for my marketing career was to join the local chapter of the American Marketing Association and get involved. Joining is easy, getting involved is where you grow. For many years I served on the Business-to-Business committee, ultimately chairing it and earning Volunteer of the Year, after which I was invited to serve on the board, and did so for six rewarding years. I grew so much professionally, and made so many lasting friendships that I credit volunteering for the AMA with being the single greatest thing I did early on to catapult my career.
In fact, it was at an AMA board meeting that a fellow board member asked me to give my very first presentation to a sales team on LinkedIn and social networking… little did I know at the time but that invitation would change the course of my career, for the better.
Eventually I shifted my focus to the Business Marketing Association where I volunteered to plan and moderate a series of five breakfast seminars on B2B Social Media, the result of which was that once again I earned Volunteer of the Year and was invited to serve on the Board. At this point in my career I had branched out of my own and again, I continued to grow professionally. I won business, and I made friendships that I value to this very day.
But after five years, when asked to renew my board seat once more, I had my own “Well duh!” moment. I realized that while I love marketing, and I love marketers, I’m really no longer a marketer myself, not in the traditional sense anyway. In the past seven years I had reinvented myself as a speaker, a trainer, and a coach. It’s not always been an easy journey but it’s been one of the most rewarding of my life.
Don’t Break Your Own Rules
And I realized I had broken my own cardinal rule… I had joined the National Speakers Association (NSA) but I had not yet gotten involved. Not gotten my hands dirty. I had not built my tribe.
So this past year I have doubled-down on my fellow speakers. I have gone to meet-ups and chapter meetings in Chicago and Milwaukee, and plan to host my own later this year. I have joined and engaged with the NSA and other speaker-related Facebook groups. And last week I went to my third NSA Annual Conference with the singular mission of meeting and connecting with like-minded peers. Mission accomplished!
Next up, I’ll be looking to raise my hand and volunteer for the organization in a way that I can help move people forward, as so many have helped me along the way.
Where is your tribe? Find them. Nurture them. Give generously, and it will come back to you exponentially. This I can promise.