Why Associations Matter To Your Dream

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Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, author, and comedian who teaches you how to harness the power of your story to connect, engage, and get results. In this blog, Kelly focuses on the business of professional speaking. Kelly’s post day is Friday. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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Don’t Go Through Your Dream Alone! Find An Association Near You.

Dreaming can be a lonely business. Trying to figure it all out on your own is hard, depressing, and ineffective.

The key to making your dream come true, is surrounding yourself with people who can help you make it happen.

Relationships are the life blood of a dream well lived. Knowledge is power. Leverage is key.  Where do you find all of this?  By joining an association of people who share your dream.  For just about every hobby, career, calling, or art, there is an association.  For me, it’s the National Speakers Association – www.nsaspeaker.org  – my home, my family, my tribe. These are people who get what I do, who have done what I want to do, and can help me get where I want to go. Without them, I would not be where I am today, nor where I want to be tomorrow.

Here are the top reasons to join an association of your peers:

  • The Education.   My association continues to provide quality programs to help me in my business. Sometimes it’s information I can’t find anywhere else – by the best in the business – all in one place.
  • Information About My Industry.  My association helps to provide me with the bigger picture of my industry, the trends in the market, the future predictions.  They can give me an aerial view that I can’t have from where I sit.
  • Access To The Successful People. Much better than a LinkedIn connection, associations give you face-to-face access to the people who have made it in your industry.
  • A Group Of People Who Can Relate To What You Do.  Sometimes our own circle of family and friends can’t truly relate to our life and the challenges we face. As association provides a group of people who truly understand what you are trying to do and why it’s hard. Not only can you share the obstacles, you can share the victories.
  • An Ongoing Network of Helplines.  I can no longer count how often I have reached out to people in my industry for help – and gotten it. Often they are strangers, and still they help. Our association gives us a common bond.
  • People Who Can Actually Book You!  You think you can’t get business from your peers? You’re wrong.  Not only do I refer my speaker friends ALL THE TIME, I also get referred by my speaker friends. Networking is networking and fans are fans. Associations help you increase your market exposure.
  • Friends Who Become Like Family.  The friends I make in my association become friends for life. The best friends I have are ones that I met at convention and meet up with every year after that.  Associations give you a community of people who share the same dream. People who rush to help when you need it – who cheer for you when you need it – who pick you up when you need it. The friendships I have formed have become my greatest blessings.

Here are some things to do when you join an association:

  • Invest the money and time to attend the events. It’s worth the investment.
  • Get involved.  The more you put in, the more you get out.
  • Fight the comparison feelings.  You may be overwhelmed at first, feeling like the new kid. This naturally leads to feelings of not belonging, of being behind. Ignore those feelings. They aren’t true. You have just as much to offer as they do.
  • Ignore the divas.  Just like in every group, you will have annoying people and people who thrive on their own egos.  Let it go.  There are far more nice genuine people. Don’t waste your energy  on the ones who treated you with disrespect. They really aren’t worth it.
  • Do the work. Advice doesn’t mean anything unless you follow it. Don’t be the life long college student. Act on what you learn.
  • Follow up on relationships. Meet a new friend? Reach out to them. Tell them when you’re in their area. Meet for coffee. Don’t be discouraged if they are too busy – some people are – just move on and reach out to someone else.
  • Share what you know, share what you have, leverage your gifts.   There is enough business to go around – enough opportunity for us all.  Help others in that association reach their dreams and it will come back to you tenfold.

There is nothing more powerful than the woman who links her arms with another woman, and another woman, and another woman – leveraging talents – pooling resources – multiplying wisdom – manifesting encouragement and courage. We are truly stronger together. And when one succeeds, so do we all.