Back in 2004 I began my MBA in what was considered an unorthodox way – I did it online through Athabasca University. As I was self funded and working full time, I wanted the ability to learn on my own, at my own pace. I also considered the fact that the world was digital and I truly believed at that time that learning was going in that general direction. In addition – it provided me with the opportunity to work in groups with people around the world in different time ones, and hone my written communication skills.
So why does that matter? Well within a week I connected with someone in my first group and we developed a terrific relationship. Class over class I virtually “met” interesting people who were located around the world, and have continued those relationships both in person and online. The MBA class pushed me to be social in a very different environment – which brings me to today.
In our move to become global nomads, I have been selling our belongings, finding the right home for our fur babies, and been able to donate items to people with a need. On the other side of the world, I have joined an expat women’s Facebook page in Penang and Internations.org, and suddenly the potential fear of landing in a faraway place with no social net has disappeared. Folks have been stepping up, generously answering questions, allowing me to peep at conversations and experiences that will likely mirror my own, and sharing “where can I find a good (fill in the blank)” referrals.
A most incredible experience that has my partner shaking his head. He is an introvert compared to my “jump in with both feet naked” extrovert personality. He laughs when I tell him “I found a Dragon Boat group, birding guide, real estate agent, car rental agency…” Secretly though, I think he is thrilled that my “social” cupcake standing has tasty side benefits to him.
My message – Use social media with the intention of positive connection with others. Get out there – in the most unorthodox way you can – with a full heart and plenty of chutzpah.