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I’ve written a few posts about networking and the power each one of us has to make choices, even when reality is such that we find none of our options are very appealing. Especially when the alternative is slipping into complacency, establishing new contacts, staying current, and taking responsibility for our choices are important and can give us some sense of control when our lives may otherwise feel out of control. But let it be said – nobody is perfect. Meeting new people and staying engaged in experiences we would rather not be having can be exhausting.

I remember the prospect of attending yet another networking event bringing me to tears when I was I unemployed living in San Francisco. I was standing in the middle of California St. with a friend that had just found out about an event that was taking place that evening. Like a good friend, she was trying to convince me to attend. She reminded me that you never know; this could be where I met someone who knew of some opening and I ended up with a job.

At that point, a week of the flu sounded like an appealing alternative. Then at least I could stay in bed, and no one would expect me to smile and play the numbers game. I felt like a single person that had just gone on her 100th blind date with no success. The thought of going on date 101 was just too much.

I knew my friend was trying to help and be encouraging, but I felt like she was blaming me for not trying hard enough. My feelings were a projection of my own internal dialogue. “Don’t you understand I’m trying? I’m doing everything I know to do. And I’m worn out. I need a break.”

My friend was right, 101 could have been the lucky number. Attending that event could maybe have been the turning point. Maybe not

We can’t predict when we will experience our turning points – the few events that we look back on and say to ourselves, “If I hadn’t gone out that night…. If I hadn’t stopped to have that casual conversation with so and so… If I hadn’t applied for that job on a whim… I wouldn’t be here today.” And it can be difficult not to attach significance to each opportunity not taken. Within the context of your humanity, try your best, forgive yourself, and move on.