You don't need to be the life and soul of the party. But you do need to be invited.
I went to an amazing dinner party on Saturday. Great food, great wine, great house and perhaps most importantly, lovely people. But before-hand, I was nervous. Of a dinner party. Ridiculous.
Ahhhh, but my nerves lie in the politics of making new friends. You get seriously out of practice as you get older. As children, the idea of having more new friends isn't remotely scary. In fact quite the opposite, it's great! As you get older though, it becomes more and more horrifying. I've said countless times to my husband that given I love working with people, making new contacts and human interaction are really my day-to-day currency, that it's ironic that when presented with our eldest son starting school, the thought of making new 'parent friends' was really intimidating.
Now, to be clear, it hasn't kept me awake at night but it has given me cause for some concern. Would they like me? Would I seem like the 'right' sort of mum? Would we seem second-rate given so many of them are very wealthy? Would their boys like mine (and mine like theirs)? Are these people I could call in an emergency? I've got potentially 9 years alongside these people so I wanted it to count.
But then I realised, it doesn't matter. And the reason it doesn't matter; because this isn't about being the 'coolest' or the most popular. We aren't children any more. Rather like in business, this isn't about being an 'expert' or the 'best'. It's just about being a contributor - being part of the conversation. I've recently read the brilliant Chillpreneur by Denise Duffield-Thomas and she talks explicitly about this. You don't (and can't) know everything. But you absolutely can and should show-up and be a contributor.
If you're nervous about leading the conversation, forging new relationships and making a phenomenal first impression, don't be. You can't expect to ever the the best if you
never show up at all. Just try to be the best at joining in for now and the rest is something you can work on. Be a contributor and the expertise will follow you.
You don't have to be the life and soul of the party, but you do need to be invited!
If you want to take your personal impact from contributor to expert or you just want help in joining the conversation then I'm here to help and trust me, I STILL worry about it! Get in touch and we can talk more about how I can help you to maximise your personal impact. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on +44(0)7834 455602