194: “How to Network during a Pandemic” with Jen Nash

Use Tiny Connections to Build a Life You Want

“When we connect with the world around us, we live happier, more fulfilling lives.” —Jen Nash

As a child, Jen Nash would get annoyed while shopping with her family because her mom loved to talk to strangers. Years later, Jen has learned to say thank you in over forty languages. As a world traveler, saying thank you to someone in their native language seems like a simple thing to do, but that small connection can brighten a person’s day. 

Many of us have heard that there’s power in making these kinds of connections. I’ve heard the saying that your net worth is in your network, meaning that the better your network is, the more chances you have of being successful in whatever you do, whether that’s growing a business, starting a podcast, writing a book, or finding a mate.

In today’s episode of “Author’s Who Lead,” I talk to Jen Nash about her book, The Big Power of Tiny Connections: How Small Interactions Spark Awesome Outcomes, and how tiny connections can improve your life.

The Idea 

Jen Nash went through one of our “Author’s Who Lead” coaching programs. She remembers that it was the very first exercise of the program, the visual map, that helped birth this idea of tiny connections. Visual maps help bring out our ideas and our uniqueness before we even start putting words on a page. Through this exercise, Jen realized that a part of her personality loved the idea of being like Mary Poppins, who always seemed to have what people needed. In order to know what people need, you need to know a bit about them, and this is how Jen saw that she had always practiced tiny connections. 

Tiny Connections to Improve Your Life

Connecting with others has always been part of Jen’s life, but it took writing her book before she found a way to create a path forward for others, especially for those of us who may be shy or introverted. She desires others to live happier, fulfilling lives as they learn to connect with the world around them. Jen feels connecting with others, even in tiny moments, is “like adding salt and pepper to your food.”

These tiny connections can help you get a better job, make more money, or get invited to more parties, and they can help make you a better person. Jen feels “humans are transactional, and relationships are somewhat transactional.” So even though we shouldn’t do things for others just to get something back from them, with the right attitude, connecting with others does just that. It could be as simple as having tiny connections with strangers to make their day a bit brighter or helping you not feel so awkward in a crowd.

How to Connect without Leaving the House

The pandemic has been both a blessing and a curse when it comes to connections and socializing with others. It’s been positive in that it showed many of us that we really do crave human connections. But we’ve been isolated from our friends and loved ones so long that a lot of us are hesitant to be around strangers again. 

Jen tells us that it’s helpful to go beyond using social media to connect with others. There are ways to connect on video with friends, family, and coworkers, as well as apps to connect with strangers. For example, there’s an app called lunchclub.ai where you can meet up with strangers in your field of interest over lunch. “So you’re both on zoom and you’re both working, but you’re going to form connections with these people slowly,” says Jen about these lunchtime dates with strangers.

The Fear of Reaching Out

Jen has always enjoyed talking with strangers and developing connections with others, but she understands that not everyone is comfortable with it. Reaching out to others in these tiny connections brings up many fears inside us and excuses we have to not connect. The four main fears are “I won’t like them,” “They won’t like me,” “They’ll think I’m boring,” and “I’ll run out of things to say.” These fears keep us from having tiny connections because we feel vulnerable and uncomfortable in these moments of interaction. 

The benefits of forming tiny connections are tremendous, so Jen urges people to gather that “inner strength” that we all possess and lean into the uncomfortable. This can shift your day-to-day experience as you find magical connections. 

The Book-Writing Journey

When people set out to write a book, they often start out with one idea and then, as they work through the writing journey, end up writing about something else entirely. Jen experienced this with her manuscript when she joined us in the coaching group to write her book. 

Writing a book can be overwhelming, but Jen found that our gentle, adventurous approach was enjoyable. She was able to find the message she wanted to share in her book and was able to write her first draft during the six-week writing sprint. One of our editors then helped her shape her book into something amazing. 

This process was uncomfortable at first for Jen, but just like with her tiny connections, she leaned into the editing process and committed to doing the work to rewrite it. I think authors need to hear that their books don’t have to be good the first time around; they just have to be good when they’re rewritten. 

It’s uncomfortable to get out of our routines to do something different like connect with a stranger. A tiny connection with a stranger, however, can lead to some magical adventures and opportunities if you allow it to happen.

What was your biggest takeaway from this episode? Are you finding it hard to network and socialize these days? Share in the comments below!

That’s all for this week. If you have a message inside of you that needs to be written, today is the day to start. Don’t delay—take action.

Episode Resource:
Connect with Jen Nash:
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Get a copy of Jen’s book:
The Big Power of Tiny Connections: How Small Interactions Spark Awesome Outcomes

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194: How to network during a pandemic with Jen Nash

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