Connect With Passion

by Christa Hines on March 8, 2013

I probably sound like a broken record: Parenting with a non-existent or shaky support system can add to stress and anxiety levels. But breaking out of isolation isn’t easy and sometimes you have to get creative to find your tribe. Life transitions, relocations, school changes, and an evolving family life can alter your social system. 
Maybe you’ve tried a moms’ group and never connected to the other moms in any meaningful way. Perhaps you need more than Twitter or Facebook interactions to round out you social life. Find energy in action and success in your personal passions.
Begin by asking yourself a few questions:
  • What is something that I love to do outside of work and/or spending time with my family?
  • How can I turn my hobby into a networking opportunity to connect with other people who share my interest?
  • Can I combine my interests into both in-person and online forums?
For example, say you love to cook. During your spare time you enjoy conjuring up new meals, ordering new cookbooks, ripping out recipes from cooking magazines, visiting cooking blogs, browsing through the culinary knick-knacks section at the store, and looking up creative ideas on Pinterest. 
Here are a few ways to turn your passion into an opportunity to build a network.
  • Take a cooking class. Several grocery store chains and community colleges offer reasonably priced continuing education culinary classes.
  • Start a cooking club. Invite a few casual friends to be part of a cooking club you are organizing. Host the first meeting featuring a specific recipe. Maybe you could ask your guests to contribute an ingredient for the meal. Show them how to make the meal, pair it with a good wine or a fun cocktail and then enjoy dining together and getting to know each other better. Send everyone home with a copy of the recipe and a dessert. If it went well, ask your friends if they’d like to each take a turn hosting. If you start out small and keep it simple and light-hearted, you’ll likely see the group grow and evolve as it attracts others. 
  • Host a freezer meal exchange. I’m not exactly sure how this works since I’ve never participated in one, but I know people who love to do this. Maybe I can convince one of them to agree to an interview about how these work for a future blog post!
  • Plan a holiday cookie exchange. Invite the moms from your child’s classroom or preschool to a holiday cookie exchange. Ask everyone to send you their recipe ahead of time and make a book of recipes to go along with the goodies they’re taking home at the conclusion of the party.
  • Teach a class. Maybe you’re especially skilled at vegetarian cooking or a specific cooking technique. Tap your inner Julia Child and see if the community college, a local grocery store, a non-profit or a moms’ group is interested in hiring you, either for pay or as a volunteer, to share your skills with interested students. 
  • Pay attention to volunteer opportunities. Bring meals to friends or neighbors who need a little extra help. Volunteer to help with the teacher’s luncheon at your child’s school. Share a treat at parent gatherings. 
  • Start a blog. Reach out to other culinary enthusiasts by creating a blog. Post pictures of your cooking creations on Pinterest that link back to your blog. 
No matter what your passion, share your personality, your friendliness and warmth and others will respond in kind. 
For more ideas about how you can use your creativity to build a network, check out my e-book Confidently Connected: A Mom’s Guide to a Satisfying Social Life. 

Photo courtesy: Kiatying-Angsulee

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