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When I was ten years old

I was on the playground outside the red brick elementary school and balancing on the wooden curb that held back chunky brown playground mulch.

We were out for recess, and I was looking forward to playing. It was a beautiful September day. I was a happy little girl.

Suddenly, A girl stood facing me with a group of kids behind her – my playmates. She wore a red top, her fists firmly planted on her hips.

“We don’t want you to play with us anymore.” She declared. “Leave us alone from now on.”

Stunned, I stood in silence for a few seconds feeling like I had been punched in the gut. “Who?” I managed to say.

“Everyone!” she said, rolling her eyes before walking away.

💔⁉️😕

My mind raced with confusion. “What?! Why?” I thought. The blood rushed to my face, a cabbage size knot formed in my throat and I said nothing. Tears welled up, and I walked away to hide next to the playground fence until recess was over. In that moment I felt very alone. 🥺

I spent the rest of recess in solitude, and after school, I made my way home in tears and retreated to my room, consumed by feelings of rejection.

That was the fifth grade. I had just moved to town so I was the new kid.

Social Anxiety was born.

That day, I learned I had to worry about what people thought of me. I started to believe that I was annoying. And I spent the rest of my life trying to figure out how to build positive relationships with the people around me. I was especially worried about not being annoying. Still am.

As the school year went on, I did form friendships with two or three other kids. I am still friends with one of them today. By High School, I was doing okay in the friend department. I valued a few close friendships rather than trying to connect to big groups. I’ve never thought I was “cool”. Oh no. Not at all. And I still worry about whether I am perceived as annoying when I meet a new group of people.

This story is not unique. Can you relate?

There are a lot of people who have a story similar to mine. Many of us have experienced social rejection at one point or another. No matter what, It really hurts and if we fear it happening again, it makes meeting new people a particularly scary thing to do. It’s why professional networking is so hard for many people.

This is just like March in New England

In New England, where I live, we say that March “comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. “

Just like March, my ability to maintain relationships with a group started out pretty aggressive. Like a Lion.

But as I grew, I learned how to read people. I figured out when to reach out and when to walk away. Relationship building got easier. Like a lamb.

Maybe now you can guess the theme for March?

It’s professional relationships aka. networking.

I recommend starting a professional networking journey by getting to know your existing connections better. It takes some of the pressure off and removes some of the social fear.

You are in my community and part of my network, and I am part of yours. So let’s get to know each other better in a very safe and non-scary way! I’ll introduce myself to you here, and then I invite you to reply and introduce yourself too.

Are you willing? Great! Let’s do some professional networking. 🤝

Let’s do a round of introductions. I’ll go first.

I’m Ellen, and I’m a white cisgender female and I use she/her pronouns. I have reddish medium-length wavy hair. I have a husband, and we have two children. We live in Connecticut. I have one older brother who is also married and they have two children. Our parents live near me in Connecticut. Here we are together.

A family photo of ten people. From left to right a beautiful woman with dark hair and a dark sweater. She is staking next to four cousins, two lovely ladies with long blond hair, and two boys both with wavy hair. IN the middle is a grandfather standing behind a grandmother, who is seated. To the right are the grandparents two children, me and my brother, and behind me is my husband.

My kids are in college right now. One is a junior studying physics and the other is a sophomore studying Biology. I’m very proud of them.

We share our life with two dogs, three cats, and seven backyard chickens that provide us with fresh eggs. I also indulge my love of animals by riding a lesson horse once a week. My husband practices Karate. Our hobbies keep us grounded.

Three years ago, I started a career coaching business and have helped several people work through some career struggles. It’s very fulfilling. This newsletter was born with the business; I have written it weekly for three years. I did take one break for two months at the end of 2023.

Alongside coaching, I hold a senior IT director job in corporate, focusing on contact center technology – a new role since January. Previously, I spent four years at this same company supporting applications like ServiceNow and HR technology.

Gulp. I’ve worked for more than two decades, including a 20-year stint at an insurance company, where I specialized in call center technology and data warehousing. Before that, I worked at Duracell and Lego as a database developer. I was very blessed to work part-time for five years, which allowed me more family time.

I graduated from UCONN school of business with a bachelor of science in management information systems (MIS). I went their because of their wide choice of majors, and their horses on campus. I played polo while I was there! Plus, it’s where I met my husband.

Another interesting fact: I was born in Germany during my father’s term in the U.S. Army. At age one my parents moved us to Pittsburgh and at five we moved to Freehold New Jersey. In the fifth grade we moved again to Summit N.J. You’ve read about how that started for me. I graduated high school there, and my parents moved to Verona NJ while I went to UCONN. After college, I stayed in Connecticut and started my adult life.

That’s my basic history. Let’s see. What else do I want to share about me that might be interesting? Here are a few other things.

  • I love to write, and I worry that my writing is annoying. This thought never goes away. 🤷‍♀️
  • I enjoy reading but get distracted easily, so I make my way through books slowly.
  • I learned to crochet and am in the process of making a blanket! It’s a good way to relax. I’m pretty sure it will take a long time to finish it because I tend to put it down for weeks at a time.
  • I know how to sew and can make fit adjustments to my own clothes. This is a handy skill.
  • I like to garden, but I’m not very good at it (yet).
  • I don’t like to exercise much, but I’m doing it anyway.
  • I do my grocery shopping in bed using Instacart. Lazy? Or efficient? You decide
  • I have a hard time keeping my house neat so I pay a housecleaner to help me and my husband does most of the laundry.

Whew that was a long introduction! Sorry for going on so long.

Will you share your introduction with me?

Even if we know each other pretty well already, maybe you learned something new about me today. Will you hit reply, and share more about yourself? I would love to know you better!

You definitely don’t need to go on as long as I did. 🤣 Please share only what you are comfortable with. I would love to know…

  • Where is home for you right now?
  • Are you working? If so, where? If not, are you doing okay?
  • What would you like to share about your family? your background?
  • What are your hobbies?

Lets start a conversation.

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Copyright InspiredLeader LLC 2023


P.S. As shared each week: Here is how my goals are going.

Exercise: I exercised four out of seven days this week.  Once again, writing this status each week was a motivator! I didn’t want to admit that I lacked exercise. Reinforcing the point I made in this post

One-on-One Fun: This was an interesting week. I was working an off-time-zone schedule. My afternoons were fun with the family, but I was going to bed super early.

Hustle or anti-hustle? This week, 5 of 7 days, did not feel frantic. Working in another time zone created a bit of hustle.

Reading? Continuing Ezra Klein’s “Why we’re polarized.” Read from pages 119 through 141. I read every day, but I guess only a few pages a day.