Marny Lifshen and I met through her co-author Thom Singer who many of you know through this BLOG. There are people you cross paths with in life that you just know you are destined to be friends with and Marny is one of those people. In just a few short months, Marny and I have shared many great conversations, ideas and pontinficated on what works and doesn't work when it comes to networking - especially when it comes to women.
I was honored she agreed to pen a Guest BLOG post for this week for me and I hope you will absolutely check our her website at www.marnylifshen.com
Do Well By Doing Good
"Some Assembly Required: A Networking Guide for Women."
In a recent meeting with a colleague and mentor, Carol Thompson, she asked me a somewhat startling and thought-provoking question: "What have you done for the good of the world this week?" My first thought was "Wow. I have no idea." She encouraged me to think about it, and convinced me that I would realize that I had done something good for someone other than myself, my family or my business. After a while I realized I was volunteering my services as a PR professional to a non-profit organization I am a member of for self-employed moms, called Business + Balance Austin. That made me feel a little better, but I also realized I was not really being proactive in seeking out ways to do good for my world.
A few days later I was reading an article in Austin Woman magazine about Sandra Yancey, a well-known author, speaker and founder of the eWomen Network. When asked about the importance of philanthropy she commented "Giving isn't really giving until you help someone who can never pay you back." That, too, got me thinking about the kind of support I am giving to my community - in dollars and in volunteer service, and I realized that I want to do more.
I know, I know - the last thing you need right now is to worry about doing good for the world when you are struggling to keep your family and career together. But realize that you can do good while networking. For example, instead of simply going to lunch with a colleague, employee, referral source or customer, go to an awards luncheon that benefits a worthy cause, such as the Girl Scouts Women of Distinction Luncheon. There are many, many events like that out there - you just have to be proactive to find them. You'll make a great impression with your guest, as it will be a much more unique invitation than a typical lunch or cup of coffee. Another example - put together a team and volunteer at a Habitat for Humanity build on a Saturday.
So, my challenge to you is to keep networking while actively looking for ways to do good in the world. You'll find you can do well by doing good - and it doesn't take a lot of money or time.