In the last couple of months though I’ve found that this has changed. Recently I just emailed someone I didn’t know with an idea for a project, almost without thinking about it, and we are now working together. Last week I sat next to a chief exec I would have quaked in front of previously, and instead swapped anecdotes for half an hour.
It’s not been a conscious shift. I’ve not done a workshop on ‘get over your fear of powerful people’ – I’m not imagining them naked. Equally, it’s not been a strategic thing. I’ve not written a list of 100 people I want to impress and gone targeting them like a networking-ninja. Its like I’ve just realised they are only people.
They are each a person, like I am just a person – which means on a very fundamental level we are just the same. And from a diversity perspective, every person has the same value – having more power or an enviable job doesn’t make them ‘better’ or more of a person than me. They are just different. And I love difference so really its just another rich seam to explore.
I’ve always hated ‘networking’ – always felt I should be working the room for a purpose. Now, it feels like I can breathe out. Give myself a bit of space and time. If I’ve something to say to someone I can go and say it, or if I want to comment or ask a question… and that might equally be to someone with ‘a Name’ or someone I simply don’t know – that’s not important, my attitude can be the same.