Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Entrepreneurial Compost

This past weekend, I spent four days in Orlando at the National Nurses in Business Association (NNBA) conference with dozens of nurses. It was a great event, and the networking and connecting between nurse entrepreneurs and businesspeople was “epic”, to borrow a term applied so liberally these days.
At some point over the weekend, I was engaged in conversation with several nurse entrepreneur colleagues and friends (namely Kevin Ross, Renee Thompson, and Nadine Grzeskowiak), and I came up with the term “entrepreneurial compost” to describe what was happening for all of us over the course of the three-day event.

Now, some of you may see compost as the smelly, biodegradable kitchen refuse that you take out with the trash or feed to the chickens (think banana peels, wilted lettuce and eggshells), but those of us who think outside the compost bin (sorry, I couldn’t help myself!) see compost as a powerful source of fertilization for enriched soil and new growth.

Nurses Are Forward Thinkers 
You see, nurse entrepreneurs are a courageous and forward-thinking bunch, and events like the NNBA conference confirm that spending time together in the same room is like sprinkling fertilizer (organic, of course!) on soil that, while already fertile, becomes even moreso with such loving and energizing attention.
Sure, we all communicate regularly on social media, read one another’s blogs and sometimes talk on the phone or Skype (all of which are very helpful, indeed), but there’s something undeniably magical about physically being together that takes the energy and excitement to the next level.
When listening to Renee Thompson or Donna Cardillo speak, for instance, I’m at once inspired, informed and excited, and that experience translates into my wheels spinning (in a good way) and new ideas being hatched for the future, both immediate and distant. Hearing about others’ successes and challenges makes me look at my own experiences with a fresh perspective, and one never knows what can come of even the briefest of casual conversations.
Granted, conferences are also fun for personal reasons, and we took the time to schmooze, talk about our families, laugh, take pictures, and go out for meals together.

Kevin Ross, Nadine Grzeskowiak, Renee Thompson and me
Spending time with other nurses and entrepreneurs is like a balm to the businessperson's spirit. We can feel lonely out there on our own, and although our social media connections create a strong network of like minds, breaking bread together (gluten-free for Nadine and Kevin, of course) is a wonderful way to form deeper bonds of camaraderie and mutual, symbiotic support.

Create A Network!

Whether you're a bedside nurse or a nurse entrepreneur, creating a network is essential. Even if you're not actively looking for a job or to increase your prospects in a business venture, there's nothing quite like getting together with your nurse family to schmooze, network, talk, bounce ideas around, and have some fun.

If you're unable to travel to conferences, use Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and other platforms to create connections, and then take those connections to the next level via phone or video chat. 

We all need to fertilize our ideas and dreams, and I'm convinced that a combination of social media, telephone and face-to-face networking is one of the keys to success in any pursuit.

Let's keep feeding that nutrient-rich compost pile, and we'll wait to see what grows!

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