February 2015

Connection

I’ve recently started expanding my connections on Facebook.  I have to admit, when I first started using the service I planned to keep my connections small, limited, and very exclusive.  Over time, my connections grew a little more than I intended.  As an introvert I was off down a path of using social media in a very anti-social way.  In my study at CoachU, one of our guiding principles was, “People Grow from Connection: Connection is the wellspring of creativity.”  I recently found myself in a place of needing and really wanting to be creative about my work and I realized I was sorely lacking connection.  Connection brings us conversations.  In the conversations with others we have discoveries, ideas, and innovation.  I decided to use Facebook differently.  I began making sure I was connected to people I really like, people I respect, and people who are positive.  For me, that social media channel has now become much more exciting.

The entire experience got me thinking.  If connection can be a wellspring of creativity for the individual, surely it can provide some source of innovation in the workplace.  In looking at the guiding principles again, I noticed the alternative text for business, “Collaboration is a conduit for enhancing people’s strengths and generating innovative solutions.”  I looked back over my work experience and realized that any time I have really flourished, it was in a collaborative environment.  My very best work was done in environments where trust was paramount and I was deeply and authentically connected to those with whom I worked.  Connection is indeed key.

In those experiences where we are not connected, we can feel hopelessly alone.  We begin to doubt ourselves and our abilities.  We stop being our best.  Friends and colleagues inspire us to be our best and for that reason we must remain connected.  Build and treasure your connections.  Be sure that they are built on trust lest they become toxic and weaken your network of connections. Your connections will not only serve you well, but give you the chance to serve others.

Here’s a challenge.  As you start each day, take a few minutes to peruse your social media of choice.  If you’re using your networks for business, take a look at to whom you’re connected. If your connections are people you admire and you can trust them to represent you well to others, then they are the right connection to have.  In your personal life, ask yourself if your connections are people who are authentic and positive.  If they share not only their challenges but also their inspiration with you, they they are the right connection to have.  The quality of our connections can definitely affect the way in which we grow.  Don’t be afraid to prune away the toxic connections that may end up putting your whole network at risk.

Treasure your connections.  Build them.  Nurture them.  Most importantly, grow from them.
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