I have always found it easy to make new connections and feed of the energy that other people give me, although I have sometimes wondered if my network is too big. One of my lessons from lockdown is that meaningful connections are far more valuable than the number of connections.
Despite the restrictions and lack of work last year, the connections I made were deeper and more meaningful than at other times in my life. I was reflecting recently on why that was. Part of it was that I had slowed down and had time to listen and engage with people. I’m also more self-aware and conscious that not every conversation has to focus on myself. Going through a pandemic is something extraordinary where people asked how I was in a way where they were interested in my response and how they could support me. I’ve also become less afraid to ask someone how they are or respond when they are not ok, knowing that that is when they most need my support. Most importantly I am more prepared to be vulnerable with people in a way that forms a deeper connection.
As things have opened up, I’ve tried to hold onto this and think about what makes a connection meaningful for me:
- Being prepared to be vulnerable has meant that those relationships are more meaningful and stronger
- Finding common values and purpose is something that gives me a real buzz
- Entering conversations with a coaching mindset and listening without judgement helps me to be more self-aware and stops me trying to fix problems
- Entering conversations with a generous mindset rather than thinking about what I will get out of the interaction is liberating and also very rewarding
- Treating everyone I meet with respect, irrespective of differing views
Brené Brown defines it perfectly when she says “I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”