Breathing deeply I stepped up to the registration table. I had invested my own money and flown across the country with one goal: to network. Would I succeed or would I clam up and flush my money down the drain?
Just then my phone rang. “I see you!” my friend Laura exclaimed. I looked around, finally spotting her waving from the second-floor overlook. She quickly made her way down to where I was and embraced me as if we hadn’t seen each other in decades. “We’re actually neighbors,” she explained to some amused bystanders.
“I haven’t officially asked you to be my wingman,” I said, knowing her networking skills outshined mine to the point of no comparison. “But I hope you will!”
It was a job she took seriously, sometimes dragging me away from one conversation so I could meet someone new. With her by my side, I started to wonder why I ever feared networking. With her help, my networking success blew away my wildest expectations. In fact, before the event was over one of my new contacts asked me to stay in town another week to attend a second conference, this time as a reporter.
A few days later I was standing awkwardly in another event room, wondering what to do. I didn’t want to scare away potential interview subjects by asking for an interview before getting to know them, but I also wanted to avoid wasting time because I had so much information to gather. I tried some blundering small talk while wishing the carpet would swallow me up. Oh, how I missed my wingman!
As the conference began I was introduced to the group, and after a few icebreakers I felt slightly less awkward. I started tracking down interview subjects and giving them a heads-up that I would like to interview them when they had a few moments. Despite the awkwardness I felt inside, I was able to maintain enough professionalism to get the job done.
But the difference between the two experiences was jarring enough to make an impression. What had been the difference? In one case I had a friend next to me, partnering with me to help me meet my goals. In the second case, I was on my own.
I couldn’t help but think about how Jesus had sent out the disciples on their first evangelistic mission. The Bible tells us He sent them out two by two (see Mark 6:7).
We don’t have any information about how the disciples were paired up, but it does seem logical that He partnered disciples with complementary personality traits. I can’t help but wonder how many of the pairs contained one extrovert and one introvert.
If you’re feeling the call to step outside your comfort zone to share the gospel message but just don’t know how you can do it on your own, don’t fear. Jesus gave the first disciples wingmen. Perhaps He has one for you as well.
Lori Futcher is a full-time freelance writer, editor, and speaker living in Nampa, Idaho.