An Introvert's Guide to Networking: Three Ways to Expand Your Personal Team

As a blogger and designer, I'm very comfortable working alone, but that's not generally how my best work, or even my best ideas, come about. That's why it can be especially important to push myself outside of the happy hermit walls that surround my comfort zone to reach out to other creatives for networking and collaborations.

If these things don't exactly come naturally to you, I hear you. Networking can feel forced, awkward, and uncomfortable. And it's something on which I'm constantly working and trying to improve. That's why I'm sharing these tips that, as an introvert, I've found especially helpful for whenever you are trying to make connections and expand your creative team.

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Think Outside of Yourself

When networking, the thought process often revolves around filling a personal need and bringing more people into your squad. However, if want to expand your reach, you may want to consider the opposite perspective and look to join someone else's team instead. If you can check your creative ego at the door, you will likely gain new ideas, new methods, and new connections that you never would have otherwise. The ego isolates, but humility connects.

Similarly, thinking outside of yourself can help to ease nerves. When my nephew was nervous about starting kindergarten and having to make friends at a new school, my mom gave him some great advice that stuck with me. She told him to look for someone else that seemed nervous and focus on being nice to them and helping them feel better. That same advice can be applied to adulthood nerves as well. If you've been wanting to pitch an idea to an editor or reach out to someone you admire about collaborating, don't focus on your own nerves or perceived inadequacies. Think about the potential value you can offer to them. Instead of asking for a favor, outline what you can bring to the table and how you can make their life easier. Consider the notion that you might be exactly what they're looking for to fill a need.

 

Watch for Bright Eyes

Having talent is great but collaborating with other talented people is even better. Invest your time into finding and hanging out with people whose talents, interests, and goals are in line with your own. They will not only be able to help you when you need inspiration and advice, but will hopefully motivate you to push harder and go further than you would solo.

Furthermore, you know that thing that you're so passionate about? If you see someone else talk about it with the same fire in their eyes, invest your time into this person. Sharing a vision and drive regarding the same topic is a rare bond that should be held onto tightly. If you aren't sure where to connect with others of similar interests, consider online groups, blogger meetups, creative courses and other places that driven and brilliant people like yourself will likely be. And never underestimate the power of volunteering. Some of my most valuable connections have been made through volunteering for someone I admire and giving it my all. It gives them a chance to see your eyes get bright about their work and solidifies you as a strong asset to the team.

 

Find Your Yang

Keep an open mind when it comes to connecting with different types of people because it is oftentimes a personality that is opposite to your own that will make for a very productive pairing. If you're a visionary, team up with a practical doer. If you prefer to work behind-the-scenes, team up with someone outgoing with PR savvy.

Take advantage of what you can learn from someone who works differently than you. It may take effort to understand different communication and work styles, but it will pay off in the end. And similarly, try to bring your own unique vision and experiences to the partnership. Whatever makes you "weird" is often one of your most valuable qualities. Cookie-cutter people seldom change the world.

 

Do you have any tips for growing your personal network? Let's talk making connections in the comments!

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Weekend Reading Vol. 6

Who loves the internet? Feast your eyes on these most delectable links...

1  I'm a costume girl, so I could spend hours ogling the looks from the F/W 15-16 Haute Couture shows. If you'd rather just spend a few minutes, this is a great roundup of some of the standout looks. (The Blonde Salad)  |  2  I found this series of timeless faces shot by Steven Meisel for Italian Vogue completely mesmerizing. (Fashion Copious)

 

3  I cannot stop thinking about this DIY treadmill desk! It's fitness/DIY/multitasking goals all rolled into one. MUST HAVE! (I Heart Vegetables)  |  2  I've really gotten into the #FWSBeautyChallenge and have been trying to use Instagram with more intention, but it can sometimes be hard to come up with new ideas, settings, compositions, etc. I'm definitely bookmarking this post of photo ideas for when I'm feeling creatively tapped. (Helene in Between)

 

5  I am SO loving this illustrated campaign for Prada Raw eyewear.

 

Don't miss these!...

Nine seconds very well spent.

I am utterly fascinated with these naked bodies.

The fashion books to read this summer.

I thought this was really powerful.

A gorgeous bird that weighs less than a dime.

I'll never make this but it looks amazing.

Fancy game night- so cute!

And my favorite look this week.

 

What links are you loving? Let's chat in the comments!

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Get the Look...A Tropical 50 Under $50

I love to look at runway trends from fashion week, and I could sit and look at the tropical prints from the 2014 Resort shows for hours, but when it comes down to it, designer clothing doesn't have a role in my life. So, I've compiled an overflow of tropical print pieces, so that, if you're like me and can't even imagine being able to afford the latest from Jason Wu, you can still keep up with the trends! Check out these 50 Under $50 perfect for a tropical summer getaway!  

 

And make sure to come back tomorrow for my weekly DIY with a tropical spin!

 

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Trending in Beauty...Two-Toned Lips

As far as makeup looks go, I'll admit this one's out there. And while I can't see myself wearing two-toned lips very often, I also haven't been able to shake the feeling that I really want to wear two-toned lips ever since I saw this tutorial on Makeup.com. So I needed to give it a try, and with the help of my li'l sis, who offered up her jealousy-inducing lips as my guinea pig, and a quick trip to the drugstore, here's what we came up with...  

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So while I didn't get the exact look from the tutorial (I would have preferred a more matte look), I do have to say, I think the two-toned lips look awesome! There are generally two looks to achieve here: the first option, like the look above, uses the hard contrast of the two colors and requires some iron will in order to not rub the colors together until they are fully set, and the second option is to allow the colors to set a little and then purse your lips together, letting the colors blend some and leaving you with a great ombre look. And as much as I'm loving the reddish-orange and bright fuchsia above, my favorite thing about this makeup trend are the endless color combinations. Pink and purple, pink and red, red and purple...anything could work!

And if you prefer a more subtle look than this, don't write it off just yet. Simply working with different shades of the same color- light pink with bright pink, for example- can give you the same on-trend edge without leaving you feeling like a clown. And while I don't think anyone should be taking this look to the office anytime soon (unless you work in the coolest office on Earth, I guess), I think it would work great for a night out with the girls or on vacay with some of the tropical looks I'll be showing you tomorrow!

Thinking of trying out a two-toned color combo yourself? Post the pics on my StyleOnHigh facebook page and wear it loud and proud!

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In the Mood for...Tropical Fever

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Tropical prints are nothing new in the beachwear world, but designer's seemed to up the ante for the 2014 Resort collections, breathing a bolder and edgier breath of fresh air into the age-old Hawaiian floral.

 

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From left: Jason Wu used chiffon beaded palm leaves to create a shadow of the motif, lending a uniquely mysterious air to a typical print. At Peter Pilotto, where printed dresses reign supreme, lush tropical florals were given a modern Asian spin. And at Reed Krakoff, the print was abstract and artistic, striking a balance between hard-lined modernity and traditional femininity.

 

And on a personal note, things are changing a little around StyleOnHigh. If you're wondering where the old Eye It/Buy It/DIY It post is, it hasn't entirely gone away, but with a couple months of blogging under my belt, I thought it was time for a little evaluation and a makeover. From now on I'll be working on a different trend each week and posting about that style throughout the week. So if you're a fan of the 50 Under $50 and the DIY projects (which I hope you are!) they'll be coming up later in the week, as well as some head-to-toe looks for less and some new features. And then next week will be whole new trend. So I hope you like the new format, and as always, comments/suggestions are more than welcome!

 

Check back in tomorrow for some more ways to add a tropical twist to your wardrobe!

 

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