I want to tell you the best kind of Thanksgiving story. The kind that starts with giving and ends with the thanks. Sometimes, when building our businesses, we forget that we started them with the intention of being of service to others. If we can get back to that spirit of giving of our talents, skills and abilities we can do more than help others; we also make ourselves open to others returning the favor, sometimes in the most unexpected ways.

The Inspiration – Giving in November

Marie Deveaux, career coach stands and inspires a group of seated women at a networking event for design professionals.

Me coaching at the Ladies, Wine and Design networking event in Williamsburg last Fall

Last November, one of the organizers for Ladies, Wine and Design reached out to me. She had been in one of my workshops a few months prior and wanted to know if I could give some of my time to her community. I said yes.

I volunteered for their cause, but it was me who received a gift.

It was two hours, and we worked through owning our voices in public spaces, exuding confidence with our intonation, cadence and volume. We helped each other get better for 2 hours while sipping on wine and nibbling on cheese. It was inspiring. So much so that I decided that I wanted to give that same feeling for the entrepreneur women in my network. I volunteered for their cause, but it was me who received a gift.

The Bold Attempt – January

I partnered with fashion blogger, Luxe Leblanc and we worked tirelessly for months to organize and give a vision board brunch in January 2018. It was phenomenal. And we were convinced that we could replicate that feeling and those experiences every month.

And we still were growing our own business, managing our own households, raising our own kids. It was a disappointing revelation to find that we didn’t have the bandwidth to build the infrastructure that we dreamed. Not by ourselves anyway. And after months of trying to curate a sponsorship list, and vet venues, and set up event plans and regular meetings . . . we gave up. We couldn’t keep giving without sacrificing something else. And neither of us were in that position.

Keep Serving – April, May, June

In April, I volunteered to give another workshop. This time for the Women’s Center of Entrepreneurship in Jersey. I delivered an abridged Pitch Better than a PSA workshop. And it was magical. This time, more than the first, I felt the connection I was seeking. Every woman there had birthed a dream. Every woman there new the struggle of pushing it to grow. All were building a business. Most were solopreneurs. Everyone was emotionally driven to making her vision a reality, and impacting the world in big life changing ways. These women were my people.

Afterwards, I connected with Kawanzaa King, one of the participants. And Kawanaa, in addition to being a phenom coach, was working on a massive women’s summit in New Jersey. A week after the workshop, we pow-wowed and she invited me to speak at her upcoming conference, the Metro Women’s Leadership Summit: Redefining the Ladder. I happily volunteered my time again. I just wanted to be in the room. I was happy to give to their cause.

There’s something in the giving that makes us more ready to receive.

There were hundreds of women at the event in early June. I led a morning breakout session helping women craft their pitch and then over lunch I listened to the keynote speaker with curiosity. It was a woman named Sandra Yancey. Game changer.

For the last 18 years, Sandra had been working to build a network of entrepreneur women. She has chapters all over the US and Canada where women are meeting monthly to connect, learn from each other, expand opportunities. She has figured out how to help women work smarter and built a community around it. It is the exact vision I saw when I left the design workshop 8 months before. But I didn’t have to spend the 18 years of sweat equity to make it happen. I could just plug in to what she had already done.

And this Sandra woman isn’t just passively gathering women entrepreneurs. She is on a mission to help 1 million women entrepreneurs grow to 1 million dollars in annual revenue. And at that conference at the Newark Airport Marriott, she invited me (and all the other women in that hotel ballroom) to join them at their annual conference in Dallas in just over a month’s time. I rearranged my calendar to make sure I could be there.

It Comes Back Ten Fold

The Ewomen Conference was in mid July, and I am more than changed.

I didn’t have to volunteer for Ladies Wine and Design.

I didn’t have to volunteer for the New Jersey Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship.

I didn’t have to gift my time to the NJ Women’s Summit.

But there is no way I could have afforded to miss those 3 days in Dallas that allowed me to speak 1:1 to a woman who has devoted her life to helping women business owners be their best, break through limiting beliefs, and show up for the causes they care about.

A room full of women in their pajamas sit on the floor as Marie Deveaux and Sandra Yancey discuss a possible Brooklyn chapter for the Ewomen Network.

Me on stage having an intimate chat with Sandra about what I should do next to keep serving my community.

We can’t predict what the universe has in store for us. And while we are so wrapped up in figuring out how to make something happen, sometimes all we have to do is put ourselves in the right place, around the right people, so that the opportunity can come to us. There’s something in the giving that makes us more ready to receive. And all those months, all I did was keep chasing my tribe, looking for how I could serve other solopreneurs, mompreneurs, and women building businesses to change the world. Give, give, give.

Where do you find your tribe? And how can you keep tapping in, and showing up, and serving that community so opportunity knows where to find you?

One way to serve your network is to share your gifts on social media, and especially on your LinkedIn profile. I put together a little LinkedIn cheat sheet on how to do just that. Give more of yourself in every way. You are sure to reap what you sow, tenfold.

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