By Meghan Hatcher
As I consider my “founding story,” the most salient question for me right now is who to bring with me on this journey. Since my idea is already underway and I’ve already been through the pilot phase of my project prior to joining Change Makers, I am in some ways backtracking. As I researched and voraciously read prior to and while launching my project in fall 2017, I’m realizing that the authors, sociologists, and practitioners are people I’ve already metaphorically “brought with me.” Their contributions to my idea development, strategies for implementation, and project assessment are invaluable. Now I need to navigate other areas of invisible capital around me that I can tap into for more specialized and personal interactions and contributions.
Doing this requires networking, which is not something I naturally gravitate towards as my idea of a good time. In my previous experience as a journalist, that was part of the job with which I was uncomfortable. Rarely does networking involve mutual listening as people cluster around high-top tables, awkwardly holding watery drinks atop cocktail napkins (see image — you know what I'm talking about). There’s a certain amount of networking, particularly in a room full of ravenous reporters, that feels like selling myself, propping myself up by slyly mentioning my accolades, accomplishments and experiences in order to impress the person I engage in conversation. This is uncomfortable and actually seems at odds with my Christian worldview as it too often leans toward the implicit belief that what I’ve done has all been up to me and not the result of enormous privilege and invisible capital.
And yet, I don’t have the same issues networking in my communications work for the various non-profits I’ve worked for in the past because I believe in the mission and the work we’ve set out to do in the world. I need to transpose this level of faith and confidence in my own project (and myself) as I become more comfortable telling the story of the unique good I’m trying to do and what makes me an appropriate and equipped person to do it. This takes practice and a bone-deep belief conviction what this project seeks to do actually can transform lives. If I believe that strongly enough (which I do!), and can communicate it thoroughly, other people will surely want to be drawn into the story, too.
*Image from palife.co.uk