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by Barbara Brabec
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Barbara Brabec's World


NETWORKING: The Catalyst
that Makes Things Happen

How and Where to Get the Help and
Encouragement You Need to Achieve a New Goal
or Realize a Secret Dream

by Barbara Brabec

IN LATE 2004, when I decided I was tired of writing home-business books, I hung an "editing shingle" on my website thinking I might be able to help writers who wanted to self-publish. I had no idea then how many authors and self-publishers would Google their way to my website, and how many new clients and writer friends Iíd be making in the process. Iím proof positive that one thing always leads to another . . . and networking is the catalyst that makes such things happen.

Because Iíve spent my entire life developing and nurturing a supportive network of personal friends and business acquaintances, there are many people I can call now whenever I want to talk about anything. Sometimes I want to explore the workability or practicality of a new idea that has just exploded in my mind. Sometimes I have a technical computer or website problem I canít solve. At other times, Iím so close to a situation that I literally cannot see the one tree of importance in the middle of the forest. Once in a while, I need a shoulder to cry on; other times Iím so energized I simply have to share my joy with someone before I explode. I often connect the new people I meet to others in my network, and we all end up learning from one another and being inspired by one anotherís accomplishments, proving the old adage of "what goes around, comes around."

Follow Your Dream and
Go where Your Heart is Leading You

Iím grateful to be feeling so mentally energized at an age when so many people have decided their lives are set in stone, that theyíre too old to learn certain things, or that itís too late for them to start a new venture or realize a lifelong secret dream. But Iím here to remind you that it is NEVER too late to follow your dream and go where your heart is leading you. I did just that in late 2009 when I decided to write and self-publish the first of three memoirs Iíve been thinking about for years. The thing that finally pushed me over the edge from dreaming to actually doing was a networking telephone conversation with a fellow writer and former client who had just published his first memoir. Earlier in a telephone consult, I had encouraged him to self-publish after heíd spent several years trying but failing to interest a trade publisher in his work. Now, his excitement about his writing and publishing achievement was just the encouragement I needed to finally get moving on my own memoir about a drummer named Harry. Once I started writing, I couldnít stop. Future conversations with this author ultimately influenced the direction of my writing and prompted me to include content I hadnít considered before. Now that both of us have published memoirs, weíre being helpful to one another by exchanging ideas on promotion and marketing.

If you have been feeling burned out lately—from the stress of too many too-long workdays, or perhaps just from having to do the same things over and over to the point of boredom—what you probably need more than anything now is to VENT. Or maybe you're excited about a new idea that you want to do something about, but you aren't sure how to proceed. Either way, you need someone who will listen to you, someone who can see your situation from a different viewpoint. If possible, find another business friend who understands what youíre doing, where youíve been, and where youíd really like to go, and then talk your way through whatever burnout/boredom/excited state you happen to be in at the moment.

Using the strategy of networking and just plain TALK, I not only got through the hard grieving period after my husband died, but also found the help and encouragement I needed to reinvent myself on the Web.

I realize that not everyone in my network has the ear they sometimes need, which is why I remain available for phone chats during business hours most days of the week. Someone suggested to me that perhaps I should offer myself as a professional coach, rather than a "consultant," since coaching sounds so much more personal. Whatever you want to call it, when you need to talk about what you're doing now or where you want to go, remember that Iím here, and Iím interested in what youíre doing. I canít give you my time without cost, of course, but my very low "coaching fee" is the same as my telephone consulting fee, and Iíd love to add you to my list of satisfied clients and business friends if you ever find yourself in need of help or encouragement.

Related article:

Networking Can Change Your Life . . . if You Take it Seriously

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