A few thoughts:
- If there is one thing that you could do to build a real, positive connection with someone, I believe it is this: make them feel respected, heard, understood and valued. Everyone wants that. Everyone.
- Storytelling can be a powerful tool in building connections. See: Ted Talks
- Connections vary in strength, but many have the potential to become powerful, resulting in all sorts of interesting events. Revolutions have occurred when people connected, hence some “leaders” not allowing people to congregate and express their ideas when they ran contrary to the those that supported the status quo. The internet sort of makes that one a bit more challenging, doesn’t it? Ahem.
- Connection and Community – they’re related, but they’re not mutually exclusive.
- I wrote a post about being courageous in the face of fear, and it was mostly based off of my experiences. I’ve also included a section in my goal setting series (here) on the subject because understanding it and learning how to work with it, IMHO, made a big difference in my life. I think that people connect with courageous people because everyone has fears and wants to know that they can move past them. It’s inspiring. And the people who are willing to be authentic, vulnerable, and courageous and SHARE their fears and struggles? They’re relatable. If you can inspire and be relatable, I think that’s a pretty awesome combination for a leader to have.
- If 2 companies built widgets that are so similar you’d have to be a widget expert to note a difference, how does one company gain an undisputed advantage over the other with the non-expert/entry level market segment? They tell their story and they start with why they do what they do. And in everything they do, they put that message front and center because that is the element that people connect with. People don’t connect as strongly over a thing you do or build as they do over why you do/built it. Seriously. Read that one again. And then go read Start With Why.
- When I think about the people with whom I share the deepest connections, one common thread is this: we’re basically in love with each other. We show up as ourselves, and sometimes that means we’re killin’ it at life, but other times it means we’re a hot mess. Sometimes we’re jerks, but other times we’re exactly what the other needed at a particularly brutal moment in their life. Saints and sinners. Good and bad. We show up for each other and, no matter what happens, we don’t hold grudges or judge. We know the door is always open. We accept one another – come as you are. It’s not hard to see why those connections are so rich.
Now you’re probably thinking something like, “Wow Lacey, cute list. Thanks for sharing that. And your point is…?”
My point is this: People want to connect. They want to be inspired. They want to share ideas and thoughts. They want community. They want to be led, even. But there are different kinds of groups: those that are superficial and short-lived, and those that are passionate gatherings of inspired people. The later of those two can be really powerful. If you want the later of those two to happen, you need to be authentic. You need to be vulnerable and passionate and real. And you need to start with why. If you’re passionate abut what you do, you should know why you do it. If you aren’t passionate about why you do what you do, why should they care? And why do you?