I remember when I first started networking. It was an intimidating process, but I didn't think much into it. My burning desire to obtain an internship and job after graduation was greater than my fears and limiting beliefs. Luckily, I had a mentor who taught me how to network authentically, and she kept me accountable for a good eight months.
For my first coffee chat, my mentor introduced me to a young lady who worked in the industry that I wanted to work in. She was so genuine and provided me so much insight - I took two hours of her time. I should have been more respectful of her time, but I was so curious and had many questions as I was new to the world of non-profit/social enterprise.
After that meeting, I had many other Skype, phone, and in-person meetings with people from all over the world. My network continued to expand as people continued to share their contacts with me and when I showed up to many conferences and events throughout the year. I learn something new every single time.
I would never forget the one coffee meeting I had that led me to my internship prior to graduation. I've reached one of my goals of the year and every time I think back, it still seemed so unbelievable. But I was not lucky, I put in a lot of hard work to get this. It is definitely one of my biggest accomplishments today and I always look back to it whenever I am faced with any adversity or failure. I created my own destiny.
My last coffee meeting of the year made me realize how much I've grown in just one year's time. I was invited to a coffee chat with a CEO of a huge company through 10KC. I was more happy than surprised because it is quite rare for someone older and more experienced to invite me to coffee when I would normally be the one who initiates as I would benefit more out of chat as a younger person.
This time, the conversation was much more reciprocal. He complimented on my firm handshake and how incredible he thinks my personal brand was. He told me that he learned something new from me - which is personal branding (something I've just learned this year!).
As I told him my life story since last year, he became more and more surprised about my accomplishments and experience for a 23-year-old. I was more level-headed than he thought I was. His intention that day was to mentor me and help me in any way, but when I asked him for advice he was somewhat speechless. Of all things I was surprised, because I knew that there was so much room for improvement, so much more things I needed to figure out in the long-run.
I even told him how all this isn't easy for me because I am a natural introvert - but I didn't appear that way at all when I spoke to him. I mentioned that I wanted to improve on public speaking and speak in a more mature way, but he reminded me that I was only 23 years old.
A few days after the meeting he sent me his observations and thoughts from our chat. I thought it was very helpful to know what his first impression of me and how he would describe my personal brand.
It was definitely a confidence booster. When I read this, I remember my 8-year-old self, wishing that when I turn 23 I will be brave, confident, happy, and social. I like to think that I've become that person today.
I realize that I actually do enjoy coffee meetings and am much more comfortable with it today. I think 10KC is an incredible platform and I hope that when I'm older I will continue to go on coffee chats to share my experiences with young people.
Let's connect! Invite me to coffee today at 10kcoffees.com/tina-chow