Sunday, March 30, 2008
Nature vs. Nurture
Networking is difficult for me. I'm kinda anti-social by nature. I enjoy spending time alone, or with small numbers of people I consider my inner-circle. There are a few other people I click with instantly, and on occasion I like to see them as well, but for the most part, I need to be in a quiet place so I can hear my own thoughts, and feel my own emotions.
Over the years (my L.A. years), numerous people have told me that I need to network. I need to get out and meet people. While I would never consider myself to be a shy individual, the thought of going out to meet people gives me the willies. I just don't understand the concept of going out with the intention of adding more people to the list of people I already don't have enough time to talk to regularly. And I sure don't need more people on the OTHER list. The list of folks that hover around because they think I may be able to do something for them. I see them coming a mile away, I know who they are, and I never ever want to be perceived as being that way. Ever.
I went to an industry party last night with a friend of mine. Social butterfly that she is, she was in her element, and in between air-kisses with new friends she had just met, she would say "See Nicole, it's not hard--you need to be out doing this on a regular basis." I just said "Okay." and kept refilling my wine glass. I did end up having a good time, and meeting some interesting people, but it's probably not a good idea to keep doing things you have to be drunk to enjoy.
So, I don't know where the middle ground is: I'm an artist, but in order to make a living at it , I have to be a businesswoman as well. So I've learned how to do that, but it has little or nothing to do with the art. On top of that, I am supposed to network and broaden my circle, but that goes against my personal makeup. Do I really need to do this? Is it foolish of me to just keep going the way I have been: letting relationships develop at their own pace, and only expending energy to keep up with the people that really move me in some way?
Butterflies are beautiful, and social butterflies in action are no less so. But I am not one of them, never have been, and have just about made peace with the fact that I won't ever be. Does that mean I will never live up to my full potential? That my career won't bloom the way it could if I just got out more, shook more hands, gave la bise to more people...
I know growing can be uncomfortable, I just have to figure out if the discomfort I'm feeling is a result of just "growing" or if I'm trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I suspect that it's the latter.
P.S. - See? Despite some of the comments I get about being self-assured, I have moments of self-doubt just like everyone else.