Looking back: Networking, volunteering and finding Mr Right

Looking back. I don’t know about you, but it’s not something I’m very good at.

I don’t really want to dwell on a broken relationship, or a gossipy work colleague.

But looking back is a brilliant way to help you realise just how far you’ve come.

A few months ago, I wrote down what I wanted to achieve between July this year and March next year. These were just three of the aims on my seven-strong list:

  • Be a networking queen
  • Do some volunteer work
  • Find myself a decent glass half-full bloke

Here’s the story of how I’ve been getting on and what I’ve learnt.

Looking back on being a networking queen

looking back: networking at Blogstock

My tent at Blogstock

This past couple of months I’ve been in full-on networking mode. Why? I’m a firm believer that people buy from people, and I’m seeking opportunities through both this website and all things travel, and freelance marketing work.

First up, I went to Blogstock, a blogging festival. I stayed in a tent. It rained. I survived. I learnt a tonne of tips on SEO, video and more from bloggers in the worlds of travel, fashion, lifestyle and food; and made some useful blogging and corporate contacts in a really relaxed environment. I’d go again.

I half expected to be completely out of my depth at Blogstock. But my experience was a welcome reminder that I may have a LOAD to learn on the blogging front, but my marketing / communications background means I can hold my own in a business conversation. Thank you, corporate world!!

Weirdest moment: When someone’s first question to me was: “What’s your twitter handle?”

Business networking group

My expectation: Accountants, lawyers, men in pinstripe suits.

Reality: Accountants, lawyers, men in pinstripe suits.

And some lovely ladies too. Cards were exchanged and contacts made. I’ll be revisiting this group again when I’m back from my travels in November.

Small business events

Wow, who knew how much free help there was for new UK businesses? I’ve mastered a book-keeping spreadsheet, learnt more about how google works, had some valuable input into social media strategy, and loaded up on video marketing tips.

I also met a real mix of new business owners – sooooo satisfying to be able to bounce ideas off one another.

The result of all this: several new useful contacts and allies, and a head full of creative ideas.

Looking back at my volunteer work

Following my Tour de France volunteer work I wrote about a couple of months ago, I’ve continued working as a volunteer with Marie Curie Cancer Care as part of their commercial partnerships team. It’s fascinating to see things from the other side of the fence after so many years managing charitable relationships from the corporate perspective.

Finding a bloke with a positive attitude

Newsflash: late-night bars are not the best places to meet active outdoorsy guys (but, looking back, can be quite a good way to meet guys with an alcohol problem).

With that in mind, in the last month I’ve tried out …

Army-style boot camp, which turned out to be 15 girls and 1 guy – who had been dragged there by his girlfriend. I went twice, just to make sure. My yoga class has more men than this. Unexpected upside: Turns out I’m quite good at sprint intervals.

Burlesque life-drawing class. This was mostly women and couples, though I did draw this guy.

looking back: my quest for Mr Right took me to life drawing class

he even looked a bit like this!

The local beer festival was man central, with a bonus being they weren’t all beer bellied and old enough to be my dad. I even quite liked the beer.

The results of my recent search for Mr Right

Total number of new men I’ve chatted to: 14

Of whom were definitely single: 3

Of whom were actually married but took their wedding ring off and pretended to be single: 1

No of dates: 2

No of potential Mr Rights: 0

And last but not least, number of men who thought it a good idea to post tea-leaves through my door: 1

Learning from looking back

Open your mind. Trying new events and experiences whilst meeting new people has opened my mind even more than I thought possible. Example: I now want to write a book. Something that hadn’t even crossed my mind when I was bound to corporate world.

Face the fear. Expectations and reality don’t necessarily match up, which is why that old adage of “face the fear and do it anyway” applies to a whole load of non-terrifying stuff too. Example: Boot Camp was crap for meeting guys, but did give me a business contact.

Write it down. Having my aims and objectives on paper reminds me – in broad terms – what I should be focusing on. It’s a little piece of motivation in my pocket.

Have patience. Whatever your aim – whether it’s to save £5k to travel or to change your job – it’s unlikely to happen overnight. Setting small steps to aim for – the first £500, the first job interview – can be a brilliant reminder of just how far you’ve come.

Do you reflect on how far you’ve come? Have you found it helpful – or not – to look back? Spill the beans below.

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