I am happy to tuck in first to the buffet, and while this might sound very un-British not to form an orderly queue after 5 minutes of "No, you go first, no you go, no please I insist, etc.", these days I just grab a plate and say "Ohh, this looks yummy" and get tucking in.
Someone has to go first, and being overly polite about it might mean you miss out whilst it's hot, or at least stay hungry for a bit longer. So let's all tuck in.
The buffet IS open and there is enough for everyone. Of course, now I am not talking about food... I am talking about the market and there being plenty of work for everyone to tuck in to. But you have to go get your food to be able to eat it.
If you are still politely (or impatiently!) watching other people go ahead of you, it's time to confidently stride up to the buffet and politely—but firmly—take your share. It's not about being pushy, or arrogant—instead, it's about being confident. Know that there is enough for you and enough for everyone else. Be OK that other people might be looking at you and thinking "Wow, she's not shy" (or whatever else it is they are thinking). This is your chance to take or do what you want so you need to take it.
There is a buffet table that is constantly full and constantly laden with people and problems you can solve for them. Whether you work with people personally or you work with businesses, there is plenty of opportunity waiting for you to tuck in. Just like we wake up and need to eat every day, there will be people and businesses that need your help every day—you just need to go find them and serve up your solution.
Now, it might be that you can't see the buffet, or are not convinced it's even there, and that's why you need to get up and go look for it. It's not always a case of home delivery (unless you dial for a pizza!), so make sure you are at least in the dining room! Sounds obvious, but often what you're doing is looking in the bathroom for the food—you're not where it is, you're catching people when they're doing something else entirely! If people are hungry they go to the kitchen or the dining room, so go find them there—where they are LOOKING in the right place and when you show up they'll be ready for what you have to serve them.
So yes, you may have to go first. This buffet of prospective clients might not be on your doorstep, but it's there. It might be virtual and you can be there via social media or video. It might be a 'real place' where you can give a talk or go networking. But know that there is a buffet, and if you don't confidently grab your plate and start serving yourself you'll miss out and stay hungry.
Hmm, I'm getting peckish now, so I'm off to grab a bite. If you want my help with finding your buffet and how to tuck in, let me know...
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