How not to network

Founding Moms Exchange SF

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending my first Founding Moms SF  meet up for mom entrepreneurs, run by the incomparable Stephanie.  It was a big deal because it was my first outing into SF by myself.  (Driving here is driving me crazy).  I made it thanks to the GPS and met a terrific group of women.

Friendly, bright, resourceful and funny microbusiness owners, I look forward to getting to know  Lane, Alesha, Jenny, Jude and Julie much better.

So you know the part where you have to give your elevator pitch?  You know, say what  you do in a captivating way that makes a connection.  Well, I blanked.  Really.

I’d been concentrating so  hard on getting there without being too lost that I totally forgot to think up a pitch.  Consequently mine fizzled.  Oh people understood what I do, but it wasn’t as easy or thoughtful as I intended.  I flaked.

I had an Identity Quake

Do you have a ritual for thinking? Something you do to capture your thoughts through the days and make sense of them?  I think it’s an essential business tool.  I used to be a big journal-writer, but kids put the kibosh on that.  Instead I try to do a daily mental review (usually as I’m trying to fall asleep!).   You know, what worked, what to do differently, why was that?

Thinking back, I realized that my corporate wonk-speak didn’t reappear until I was asked  ‘what do you do?’ That triggered me right back into old ways of thinking about my worth and myself as a business person.

Cringing at how much name dropping I did, my only defense is….I had an identity quake.  Cognitive dissonance, if you will.  What I think of me had a showdown with what the world thinks of me and I blinked.

All of us carry a picture of ourselves on our hearts.  Your true self. Who you are in the world.  A Polaroid picture of you at one moment in time.  My favorite snapshot of me is at 20- a badass, spitfire who tamed 50 men (it’s a long story, ask me sometime)

What would you see if I asked you to take out the Polaroid of you?


At the meeting I got stuck between who I’m becoming and who I was.  I bet you can relate.  Thing is, making the cross-country move from Beantown to Otown gave me an enormous opportunity to reclaim myself as a person and reshape my business.

It was a challenge but I’m loving every moment.  I like that I’m more my funny, opinionated, compassionate self and less ‘business-like’. It’s a relief that I’m not relying on credentials or achievements to prove my value. ( They’re important but not the whole story by any stretch.)

Are you stuck between two identities?   How does that show up in your elevator speech or other places in micro-business? 

No worries if you are.  I have a solution- you want to complexify- that’ we’ll talk about in a future post. (this one is already long;  It’s a way to grow your compassion for you.

My new elevator pitch

I’m going with something different for my elevator pitch.  SpeakupPowerfully is the culmination of all my life’s work and  experiences along with my values and beliefs.  I want to honor that with a pitch that resonates deeply. No gimmicks.

Here’s what I should’ve said yesterday:

How great would it be if you knew how to ask for what you wanted in a way that people said yes to?  You could ask clients to pay on time. Done.  Be clear about their  needs or instructions. Done.  Stop changing their minds. Done.

My talent is being able to say what matters most  in a  positive, generous way that let’s the other person hear and respond. I teach women entrepreneurs like you how to take the ass out of being assertive. 

And, because it’s tough to  practice in a vacuum, we apply the learning to some of the toughest business conversations like pricing, delegation, client relations, and negotiation.  If you want more, you can have it. You just gotta ask for more.

Ask for more

That’s a particularly appropriate message today on Equal Pay Day.  Sure, you employ yourself, but maybe your employer is  holding you down?

Talk to me. Does this make sense to  you?


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Leave A Reply (4 comments so far)

  1. Dina Eisenberg
    5 years ago

    I was doing my swan imitation- elegant on the outside, kicking like crazy on the inside.

    I shared this so we’d all have more compassion for ourselves and the other women entrepreneurs we know. We have ALL been there.

    And, to say that there’s a reward in having the courage to share your flaws openly (confidently,not in a woe-is-me way). You embolden someone else to say their truth and change their world

  2. stef
    5 years ago

    I can’t believe I’m just reading this now! You know what’s funny- I got the impression that you were completely in control and I never would have guessed in a million years that this is a new venture for you. I remember you used the ass out of assertive line, and that it got a big reaction in the room. Just goes to show – you never know what’s going on in the inside. I’ll have to remember that for the panel in a couple weeks as right now I’m trying to make sure I don’t make an ass of my ass.

  3. adrians mom
    5 years ago

    Well said!

  4. it empowers working women to achieve their full potential and partners with employers to build successful workplaces through education, research, knowledge and policy.

Conflict Coaching

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