Truth: Love Local Fleurieu isn’t your typical networking event. It’s not hours spent pitching your business to other people who are also trying to pitch their business. Claire from Project Work Life has held the vision of bringing women together in open-hearted communication and connection. If you know Claire, you’d know it’s no surprise that she’s been successful in manifesting the opportunity for exactly that. Participants are encouraged to show up, be authentic and be vulnerable.
And vulnerable we are.
How many professional social events do you show up to being fully yourself? How often are you asked questions that have you taking a deeper look at yourself and sharing what you find? There’s nothing else quite like this. LLF is one of the only places I’ve ever been where almost everyone looks into my eyes and really listens. These women really do show up. They really do open their hearts, and in turn I have as well. While I’ve been in their presence, I’ve felt connected, elated, and expansive.
But with expansion comes contraction and the first several times after LLF I experienced what I’d call a vulnerability ‘hangover.’ I’ve felt raw and exposed. I’ve been plagued with doubts and wished I hadn’t shared parts of myself. I’ve felt the need to retreat inward (otherwise known as hide under the covers in bed for a bit longer the next morning!).
Vulnerability, authenticity, and open-heartedness are all muscles that need to be flexed. In order to get past the fear we need to come up against it over and over. This is a great place to practice, I tell you.
Honestly, Love Local has been a blessing. Through this opportunity I’ve created the sisterly connections I had been wishing for. There are so many women I admire there that inspire me to discover and share my gifts as they are doing in their businesses and in their personal lives. Being ‘me’ has become easier and has felt safer in the real world because I’ve had that practice amongst other courageous women who show up, just like me.
So, ok, you decide to put yourself out there and the next morning you’re experiencing a vulnerability hangover. What to do? You gotta take care of you. Your connection to yourself comes first, so get grounded. Go for a walk, meditate, stand barefoot in the back yard listening to the sounds of nature, take a bath, listen to your favorite girl-power song (I suggest Brave by Sara Bareilles or Firework by Katy Perry!)…and my top pick: phone a friend. Call someone you know loves you for you and check in. Let her love you up, receive her assurance that you are actually awesome and, this is the important part: hear her when she tells you other people will think so too.
Next, reach out to someone you met at Love Local and arrange a cuppa. You came for connection, now it’s up to you to take the action to maintain it girlfriend! Who did you laugh with? Who’s eyes met yours with a knowing glance? Who did you notice your body relax around? Or who caused you to buzz with energy? Don’t put it off because you’ll get busy. You know you will-and the next thing you know it’ll be time for LLF again! If you take this one step the next time you show up you’ll be met with warm hugs and meaningful smiles and being authentic and open-hearted will feel all the more easy.
There really is something special that happens when women come together like this. I actually have had the opportunity for my heart to open through the connections I’ve made. I’ve received so much encouragement and felt this community celebrating my little wins so many times that I can’t help but feel excited to celebrate theirs in return. The Love in LLF is actually pretty contagious. This, my friend, is a different kind of abundance than you’ll probably have bargained for.
And it is SO worth the hangover.