Sandi Amorim is one of those rare souls who can see down the depths of something and name it. She knocked at my virtual door over a year ago and I invited her in. You could say (and you’d be right) that she’s pretty dang good at this whole relating-to-other-humans thing. And that’s exactly why I invited her to help with this project.
Without further ado, here she is:
We’re All Connected
When I began my business almost 15 years ago, networking was considered the best way to build a business. I was a passionate new coach with a fire burning in my belly so I threw myself in wholeheartedly.
Breakfast meetings. Lunch hour meetings. Evening meetings.
I dragged my butt to all of them, and in return, they sucked the life out of me. I kept plugging away wanting to connect, but on a deeper level than what seemed possible.
I didn’t want to exchange business cards within the first minute of meeting someone. I didn’t want to speed through my elevator speech in the one minute allotted.
I wanted to find out who they were and what they were up to in life, what got them out of bed in the morning.
So I stopped playing the game the way I was taught. I stopped answering the question “what do you do?” and started asking my own questions.
Why are you here?
What interested you?
What do you love about your work/life/business?
“Attention is vitality. It connects you with others.
It makes you eager. Stay eager.”
― Susan Sontag
I stopped going to all the events, and chose only those that resonated. This saved a lot of time and money that was better spent on more coffee dates with people I wanted to know better.
Truth-telling moment: I still didn’t love networking, but I loved getting to know people and that’s what I focused on.
The number of in-person events I went to decreased as my focus shifted to the online world, where I found the same way of relating worked just as well.
I reached out to people I admired, often by email or Facebook message. I did this not when I wanted something from them, but instead when I wanted to let them know I appreciated their work, or loved a blog post. I kept it light and human.
Most of the time they responded with a kind word in return, sometimes we’d take the next step and book a Skype chat, and once in a magical while, we became friends.
Now some people say that online relationships aren’t real, and they even use the phrase “in real life” when referring to their offline connections. For me, it’s all real life, and the only difference is I haven’t met some of you in person…yet.
Face to face is wonderful and necessary, but you do yourself a disservice if you think it’s the best or only way to develop relationships.
For example, in the past three years, I collaborated with two of my online friends to create programs together. We dreamed of meeting and hugging one day, but the fact that we were on opposite sides of the continent didn’t stop us.
Relationships deepening into friendships turning into business.
“Eventually everything connects — people, ideas, objects.
The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.”
― Charles Eames
What I now know after all these years is that networking isn’t about strategy, it’s about connecting, one human being with another.
Why are we so afraid of this?
We do things because the experts with their blueprints tell us to, but I’ve found that most of this is mired in scarcity and fear-based marketing.
The truth we’re afraid of is that there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to relationship building and business growth.
But wait a minute…
If there’s no blueprint or right way to do it, let’s try something new.
Imagine that you live in a world where you’re already connected.
You don’t have to strategize, hustle, and be something you’re not.
You only have to acknowledge the connection and reach out.
You have to remember and bring awareness back to the connection that is always there.
And it’s there whether you’re in person or far away.
It may sound radical so I’ll say it again…
The connection is always there.
“We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically.
To the rest of the universe atomically.”
— Neil deGrasse Tyson
When you come from the place that we are always already connected, you open up a new view of life which opens up a new way of relating to others.
Instead of asking what you have to do, ask yourself what’s in the way of you connecting to those around you right now?
This is an opportunity to connect more deeply with life.
Feel the already existing connection between you and everyone who crosses your path for the duration of this challenge.
Reach out, make contact and connect.
Do this once a day as a practice, and your life and business will transform.
NOTE from Tea of Story Bistro: Once you’ve connected with someone today, come visit us on Facebook and share. Tell us how it went. Was it easy for you to visualize your connection to everyone? Hard? No right or wrong answers here — we’re all just experimenting!
Image credit: Leyton Parker