Like most people, I have a pretty packed schedule. Lot’s of meetings, projects, social events and of course a bit of networking. I keep my life pretty structured so I can try to pack as much as I can in. To be honest, this can be boring and predictable.
I had an epiphany last week when I was at a networking event and a bunch of friends I know invited me out for dinner with them after. I politely declined (as per my usual response) and said that I had an early morning squash game. As I grabbed my coat and walked out the door, I had this feeling of regret for not being spontaneous and just going out for dinner. Who know’s what could happen. Maybe I could have engaged in a great conversation which sparked a new business idea. Or maybe I listened to somebody talk about their life and got a boost of inspiration. Or maybe I could stumbled upon a new job opportunity. Who knows? The thing is, I missed out. Real networking happens when the cards get put away and you really get to know people over a drink, a coffee or a late night meal.
Some people might say that I simply have a case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). And maybe I do. But I realized today that for me, this is a pattern. When you structure your life too much, you miss out on opportunities to engage with awesome people and do spontaneous things. Who know’s what waits for you just around the corner at the local coffee shop or restaurant. Could be an adventure!
So the next time somebody asks you out for a social event on a whim, do yourself a favour and say “yes!”.