Ever feel like you are just not connected to others? It’s something I experience when I’m too busy doing things to have time to spend with others, or even time
with myself. Last week was one of those weeks. I was at a conference for six days, often rising by 4:15 and not completing my responsibilities until late in the evening. The days were packed with a rapid succession of specific duties that needed to be done at specific times and places and in specific ways. Those activities, plus an assortment of unexpected complications, some last-minute requests and a few schedule changes, kept me crazy-busy.
With all of that busyness and need to get things done, there was little time available for connecting with others.
Fortunately, there are a few simple techniques I’ve found that help me feel connected to others and strengthen my relationships with them and with myself. I did my best to use these techniques last week, and while they didn’t let me sleep longer, they did reduce my stress.
Feeling Connected to Others
Ken Blanchard, who primarily writes and talks about business management and leadership, says this about being connected to others:
“Connectedness is all about having strong positive relationships at home, at work, and in the community. Mutually supportive relationships can enhance a feeling of overall well-being and balance. Creating trusted connections at work helps improve morale and performance, while spending quality time with family and friends leads to a feeling of satisfaction of belonging to a community or being part of something bigger than yourself.”
Connection is something we experience when we are supportive and trustworthy, and when we get outside of ourselves.
He talks about how be connected requires spending quality time together. I don’t know about you, but it’s hard to find more time in my life. Anytime I want to add something, I have to give up something else. Last week, I gave up sleep so that I could add more work. So, to gain connectedness, I’ve learned to put more quality into the time I already spend with others. In business, they call this a Return on Investment or even, a Return on Value.
The Key to Being Connected is Quality, not Quantity
It’s so simple. When I put quality into the time I spend with others, I feel more connected to them. I define quality this way: being open, paying attention, and, interacting with people not with things
When I am open with others about what I value, what I feel, what I want in life and what I want in the relationship, I open myself to experiencing a connection in return.
When I put down the newspaper and look the other person in the eye when he’s speaking, or turn off the TV when the kids want to talk to me, I open myself to experiencing a connection in return.
When cell phones and other devices stay away from the table so that real-time, interactive communication happens during the meal, I open myself to experiencing a connection in return.
The same approach applies to my relationship with me. When I recognize what I value, what I feel and what I want, I feel more connected to myself. When I put away things that distract my attention, I feel more connected to myself.
Being open, paying attention, and interacting with others is not hard to do. The things that let us feel connected don’t take time or money, they take intention and commitment. The reward is healthier relationships. It’s a high return on value.
Live Honest, Open and True
Connectedness comes from the habit of intentionally letting others see us for who we are, and from intentionally communicating with others at every opportunity. Connectedness comes in the quiet moments of conversation, not from something that gets scheduled months in advance and requires a lot of planning.
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