Posts Tagged ‘network

06
Jan
09

all things good begin with golf

I met Suzanne at a golf outing two years ago.  The tournament was hosted by a mutual business partner at Arrowhead, one of the most beautiful courses in Denver.  The course website entices, “Come play the course that was 300-million years in the making.  Featuring extreme elevation changes, abundant wildlife, rolling terrain, dramatic vistas, and thousands of feet of ancient red sandstone rocks towering majestically above you.”  I couldn’t resist.

Despite the appealing website description, I was nervous about playing.  I’m NOT a great golfer.  Granted, I can hold my own – on a good day with a handicap – but I am not a stellar player.  When I golf with strangers, I stiffen up; under pressure, I begin to crack.  The mere thought of swinging my sticks in front of a bunch of professional peers (none of whom I know and most of whom are men) makes my palms sweat. 

Despite my insecurities, I mustered up the courage to pack up my clubs and play in the tournament.  I rolled up to the clubhouse in my borrowed-from-my-ex Honda Civic just in time to check in and limber up a bit.  I was THRILLED to see that my foursome had another woman player – Suzanne. 

Throughout the round, Suzanne and I became quickly acquainted.  Early on, it was apparent that we were playing that day for very different reasons.  Suzanne was there to build professional relationships; I was there to play.  (I’ll take any opportunity I can get to swing my sticks free of charge and chalk it up as an honest day’s work.) 

Shortly after, Suzanne contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in getting together with her and her friend, Alli, to talk about our careers.  It would be a chance for the three of us to articulate our individual dreams and to establish clear goals to achieve them.  Alli, Suzanne said, shared our common desire to be esteemed and respected for our abilities, hard work and intelligence.

Great idea, I thought, but I wondered what I would ever contribute.  I had similar career aspirations, but I was too different from Alli and Suzanne to add any value.  I don’t have the drive, the dedication or the discipline to do this, I thought.  (Remember:  I agreed to golf in the tournament not to “network”, but to take advantage of a free round and to play hookie from work.)

Nevertheless, I agreed to join Suzanne and Alli for an initial meeting, hoping that their extraordinary personalities would rub off on me.  That was two years ago.

Jane Austen once said, “Everything nourishes what is strong already.”  Welcome to Sunday Brunch.

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