It’s funny, sometimes, how our life changes, moves, grows, ebbs and flows. When my husband died back in 1989, I was left in shock and disbelief! Having always been someone’s daughter, or someone’s wife, I was left totally unprepared for my new role in life – alone and with no clue WHO Louise was. Being in my mid-forties and being lost was very uncomfortable. That’s not supposed to happen to ‘adults.’ So, what did I do? I sat alone in my house for one whole year – twelve full months! Was it fear, grief, or was it just been a ‘girl thing?’ Who knows…?
Being a real ‘PEOPLE PERSON,’ and very much the Extrovert, this year turned into a lonely, living HELL! My life had been in sales for nearly 25 years. I loved being out there in the world dealing with people. Finally, it became very clear – I had only two choices –
1. I could die (I was not suicidal, just miserable.)
2. I could get my life back (I had no clue how to do this.)
Hummmmm… This is where serendipity, synchronicity, or whatever you call it, stepped in.
One day while reading the Houston newspaper, an item about a women’s networking meeting jumped off the page! I had never before heard the word ‘NETWORKING.’ An author named Carol Hyatt was to be their guest speaker. Her talk that night was about “WOMEN GETTING OUT OF THEIR NIGHTGOWNS!” I felt she was speaking just to me! There had been many days in the previous 12 months where getting dressed was just not an option. I didn’t intend to go anywhere, and no one was coming to visit me; so there was no reason to get out of my nightgown and robe. DUH!
That night was the ‘beginning of the rest of my life!’ Networking meetings started to appear like magic, and I attend a whole lot of them over the next few years! All types of meetings – breakfasts, luncheons, dinners, after hours events, etc. There were so many wonderful new people to meet, and soon there were hundreds of new friends and acquaintances in my life. Networking literally SAVED MY LIFE!
So when the day came that it was time to start a new business, the decision was already made to REALLY call myself the ‘Queen of Networking,’ and teach others the joys to be found in networking. One day shortly after that a dear friend suggested I should dress the part of ‘queen;’ so that’s when the little gold plastic crown appeared on my head. It came from Toys R Us for all of $5.98! It was a blast wearing the crown, and sometimes embarrassing, especially when people started to notice me and remember me. (Who could forget the crazy lady wearing a gold crown??? I even wore it while shopping at Wal-Mart, the grocery store, and heck; I even pumped gas into my little pick-up truck wearing that crown! Yes, the Queen drove a pick-up truck! I live in Texas and we Texans love our pick ‘em up trucks!) Strangers in the stores would ask me if I was the ‘birthday girl,’ or was I the ‘queen for a day?’ My standard answer became, “I’m the queen every day!” Ha!
Besides teaching classes on networking, my business also included a weekly networking luncheon called Lunch with the Ladies & Gentlemen, and a networking oriented e-mail newsletter, Louise’s E-News, that was soon going out to over 1800 of my closest Houston area networking friends. I quit doing all of this in 2004 when my mother became seriously ill. I took her into my home for a while to care for her and there just wasn’t enough time to keep my business going. (She passed away in 2007 at the age of 90.)
Over the last five years I have been re-gearing my life. In 2008 I sold my house in Houston, where I lived for 25 years, and moved into the house my dad built for himself and my mother. It is over 50 miles north of Houston, buried in the woods on 5 ½ acres. I love it here in the forest – the clean air, the peace and quiet, and being close to nature! I was raised on a farm in Missouri, and now at this stage of my life I am again a ‘country girl!’
My networking has taken on a different twist from what it was when I lived in the big city. I do some blogging and a bit of Social Media to stay in touch with my friends, and of course, lots of phone calls. Only occasionally do I attend networking events in Houston. You see, once I got used to being out of the city it has become very difficult to go back into the harried, hurried life that I left behind. My two favorites are Referral Business Builders and Speed Networking, both put on by my dear friend, Marian LaSalle. http://www.referralbusinessbuilders.com/ Go here for more information on Marian – www.marianlasalle.com
This new journey of discovering ME, also includes taking all kinds of classes, seminars, workshops, etc., mostly self-improvement stuff. It truly is an adventure. The three biggest things that happened to me through my studies include becoming a graduate of The Silva Method, becoming a Certified Hypnotherapist, and then becoming The Queen of Networking. That happened because I went to so many meetings and events that my friends started calling me the ‘Queen of Networking.’ (The newest thing on my journey is that I am writing books. Soon I’ll be a published author!)
Networking is truly a way of life for me, and I sincerely hope that after you read this you will begin to network to help build your business, and/or just bring new people into your life. Networking is a joyous adventure that will enhance you in so many ways. So get on out there and start ‘the rest of your life’ by filling it with networking adventures! If you are shy, take a friend… or two. Make it fun – go to workshops and seminars in your hometown and in other cities. You never know who you will meet. The short list of people I’ve met through attending conferences, etc., includes Robert Kiyosaki, Joe Vitale, Pat O’Bryan, Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Deepak Chopra, Mark Victor Hansen, Jack Canfield, Stuart Wilde, Jose Silva, Denis Waitley, and a lot of others. There are all kinds of people who are just waiting to meet you. But, YOU have to get out there and make the space for them to come to you, or for you to go to them.
Get to work and have fun, my friends, because I don’t know about you, but “If it ain’t FUN, I’m not going to do it!”