This week, as many of you know, we have been in Europe attending Paris Fashion Week! It has been such an amazing experience full of style inspiration, one too many croissants, and incredible connections with incredible people! We have been able to connect with complete strangers and create relationships that will last a lifetime. As we have been traveling this week, we have really focused on one thing- a question we get often. A lot of people ask us, “how have you gotten to where you are?” We are not here to give a step-by-step layout of our life mistakes and successes, but rather a simple answer that we believe is the key to most success in life. Putting yourself out there and stepping out of your comfort zone! At some point, we decided uncomfortable was just an illusion. We put ourselves out there and accepted the consequences as they came.
Putting yourself out there can mean a world of different things. It can be talking to that cute guy in the grocery store, asking for a pay raise, telling someone you like their shoes, or just wearing some crazy pattern you are afraid people will hate. Our main focus for this post is networking and creating relationships everywhere we go. Ultimately in life, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Some people are natural people magnets and some (like the old us) have better conversations with the guac at the party than with any other human! We want to give you our 7 tips to putting ourselves out there, that really changed the game for us.
1. Know YOU! Before you can get anyone else to like you, you have to like yourself and know your worth. If you go into a conversation believing you have nothing to offer, everyone you speak to will believe the same. So discover you. What do you like? What are your strengths? And what makes you absolutely amazing? Once you discover that, you will be able to confidently walk into any room and put yourself out there, knowing people would be lucky to talk to you.
2. Talk to people! Go back 2 years and you’d catch me calling my mom if I was ever caught in a social setting alone. Grocery store? Mom. Party and I lost my friends? Mom. I know…embarrassing right? I was so scared of talking to people that I probably missed out on some amazing opportunities. But how do you start a conversation with a random person in the room? I have found that a genuine compliment can spark a great conversation with nearly anyone! For example: At one of the fashion shows this week, we sat down next to a cute girl that was obviously attending alone. We commented on her dress and soon found out she was a designer from New York Fashion Week who was there gathering inspiration from other designers. We talked to her for a long time, exchanged business cards, and plan to stay in touch and hopefully work together in the future. It may be scary, but opening your mouth and starting a conversation with somebody can lead to opportunities you could have never dreamed of.
3. Stop caring what people think! Our perceived ideas of what people “think” of us, stop us from taking the risk! “I would have started a blog, but I didn’t want to be another one of those “Blogger” people” or “I would have asked for a raise, but I don’t want to be demanding,” “I would have asked for help, but I didn’t want to annoy anyone!” Who cares! At the end of the day, there will always be people that love what you have to say, people who look up to you for inspiration, and someone who needs a friend just as badly as you do! There are people who need YOU. Make it easier for them to find you by putting yourself out there! I have found that the more you put yourself out there, the easier it is to do it again. When we were in Rome last year, we decided to really put ourselves out there, and almost make fools of ourselves in an effort to stop caring what other people thought. We would dare each other to do the most ridiculous things. I licked some guys ice cream cone (with his consent), we sang the national anthem in the city square, danced, tripped, and asked random people to take our picture…using their phones. Haha we were basically 12 years old, but it was SO freeing! It was, of course, uncomfortable at first, but by the end of the week we were hardly phased. We were just happy to be having fun without a worry of what other people were thinking about it. When you get to that point, you are able to put yourself out there in situations you would typically never would have!
4. Be honest and be real! One thing I find really hard about starting a conversation with a random person and really putting myself out there, is what to talk about! What happens after I approach them and the conversation goes cold? We have found that by being real and talking about the deep stuff, the conversation is able to flow and relationships are able to reach a much deeper level. When you talk about the surface level topics, true relationships and lasting opportunities rarely result. Be real, be you, and be vulnerable.
5. Follow up! You’ve done it! You’ve put yourself out there and had the conversation, but now what? In order to really reap the benefits of “putting yourself out there,” it needs to continue after the party. Follow up! If you had a good conversation with someone, don’t let that go. You never know what that relationship could bring into your life. It is so simple to send a quick DM on Instagram or plan a lunch date. Putting yourself out there is not a one-time event, you’ll need to do it for the rest of your life!
6. Don’t be discouraged! Not every conversation will go as planned, not every connection will turn into a business opportunity, and not everyone will recognize your greatness like they should! But don’t get discouraged! There’s a good chance when you compliment someone’s shoes, they say thank you and walk away. If that ends up being the case, at least you made it easier for yourself to do it again- and you made someone feel good about themselves in the process! Learn from your mistakes and shortcomings. Decide what the follow up question would be or how you would approach the situation differently next time. Remember that not every opportunity will be the one you take! But by opening your mouth, trying your best, and not giving up, you WILL get your desired outcome!
7. Jump! GO FOR IT! We finally get our minds made up to do something and then it never ends up being the right moment! With that mentality, it will never be the “right” moment. Maybe you’re waiting for the nerves to go away, waiting for a conversation to end, or waiting until you feel more comfortable- There is always going to be an excuse. There’s a good chance you never feel comfortable, the conversation can always start up again, and the “right” moment will never happen! JUMP! One thing I like to do, is when I’m in a situation where I need to put myself out there, I give myself a count down. 5-4-3-2-1 and then you go for it. Open your mouth, introduce yourself, submit the paper, write the blogpost. Before you know it, the uncomfortable is over, and the opportunity is on the table.
Whether it is a date you want to go on, a business opportunity you are trying to land, or a new friend you are trying to make, the first step of breaking the ice can be uncomfortable. I wish I could say I was a pro by this point, but truth is my mom is still my go-to some days! But slowly, one awkward moment at a time, I am getting to a point that I can talk to people comfortably, and opportunities are presenting themselves more and more as a result. Opportunities come and go in life, and if we don’t put ourselves out there to receive them, they will all pass us by. Remember, nobody ever got to the top from the comfort zone! If you need someone to practice a conversation on, give us a call! We could always use another friend!
Bri & Britt
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