When I say connecting, I’m not talking about Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections or Facebooks likes. I’m talking about the real-life, face-to-face kind, the kind that can leave a real impression.
Why is that so important? Because in real life, it’s this human-to-human interaction that can make us feel understood.
Before you can connect—and I mean truly connect—with anyone else, however, you have to be able to connect with yourself.
Don’t lose yourself in the busy-ness of your life. Take a break and think for a moment about how connected you are to yourself. Do you take time everyday to think about your dreams, your goals, your plans—who you are?
Take a deep breath. Now think about your priorities. What? You don’t have time? Of course you do! What you mean when you say you don’t have time is that it isn’t a high priority for you. Well, it’s time to take back your time and rethink those priorities.
Your connections to others are going to help you grow and learn. They make you who you are. In fact, you are likely the average of the five people closest to you. That means those relationships truly define who you are. That also means you can decide who is in your closest circle.
You don’t need hundreds or thousands of internet connections, but you do need some real, deep connections if you plan to thrive.
Recently, I started thinking again about a homeless man I had come across recently. It reminded me of two things. First, how truly fortunate I am. But it also reminded me that desperation can sometimes be just around the corner. I know. I was once in a situation where my life could have gone either way. Fortunately, I had family and good friends around who could give me the support I needed.
Success in life can be difficult to find on your own. Whether you are starting a new business or work plan, or you are trying to launch a new project in your personal life, you need a coach or a mentor, someone who can support you, listen to you, even hold you accountable. It’s these connections to others that will help you move forward.
So, let’s look at your to-do list. What things are on it that will support and nurture your connections? Make sure “connecting” is high on that list.
Bronnie Ware is an author. More importantly, she was a nurse who spent a great deal of time with people during the last stages of their lives. Her book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, lays out what people have told her are their regrets of a lifetime. Many of them are about connections—or the lack, thereof. In order, here they are:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I didn’t work so hard.
- I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish I had let myself be happier.
We have a lot of lessons to learn from this. We cannot lose ourselves in our busy-ness, and we need to put our connections at the top of our priorities.
So, here is my action item for you today. (Sure, it would have been better to do this 20 years ago, but better late than never.)
Today, do something for yourself that will help build a connection. Write an email, make a phone call, invite someone to lunch, write a thank-you note, compliment someone—whatever speaks to you. Your #1 priority today, do something to connect or reconnect with someone, not because you need anything, but just because you can.
Nurture your connections everyday. They should be your highest priorities—and it starts with your connection to yourself. Don’t find yourself regretting not having done it. Do it now. You’ll be so glad you did.
What are your thoughts on this very important matter? I’d love to hear from you.