I was a member of a small networking group through the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. I had been a member for about 3 years.
The group ran into some roadblocks when the restaurant that hosted us (it is a lunchtime meeting) decided in May they were too busy to deal with a large group at lunch time. Then, the long-time leader of the group (8 years), decided he needed a well-deserved break from those volunteer duties. On top of everything else, there seemed to be a shift at the Chamber on the importance of the small business members to its business model. (You can imagine how that was received in a group of small business owners/managers!)
It was decided that the group should take a break while we found a new location and a new leadership team.
For three years, I’d had the group meetings on my calendar as a recurring event on the first and third Thursday of every month. It was a commitment I’d made and just as important as any other business meeting. I worked other meetings around this one.
Well, when the group went on hiatus, with no definite date to reconvene, I removed it from my calendar. All of a sudden, I realized that other opportunities that I’d passed on due to my commitment to the group were there and waiting for me. Since then, I’ve noticed an increase in business and my ability to participate in events outside of San Diego that I might not have considered before due to that Thursday conflict. After all, I didn’t want to miss too many meetings because it was a commitment I owed the group.
When the group reconvened a couple of weeks ago, I realized that I had acquired new business and opportunities that far outweighed what I was getting out of my participation in the group. I had to decide – continue with the group because I was getting some business and enjoyed the people in the group; or, was it time to let it go and move on.
I didn’t want to just disappear from the group, so I decided to attend at least one more meeting. As I was driving there, after a very successful morning at another networking event, I realized that my continuing membership was probably not going to move my business forward in the way I wanted and needed it to. I decided to resign on my way there.
Keep in mind that I have other regular commitments to business groups and community groups, but I’ve reminded myself that I can’t allow something that’s familiar (and fun) to take away other opportunities for business growth. If it’s for business reasons, each one of these activities needs to be evaluated on an annual basis and decisions need to be made if continued participation is accomplishing the goals set for that activity.
I fully commit to any type of organization I join; but I also need to know when it’s time to let it go and open myself up to new opportunities.
Are you doing the same?