It’s easy in today’s world to focus only on what we have going on in the moment-head down, working hard, spending time online and frittering our minutes away just in time for the next day to begin, when we start it all over again. Sometimes I ask myself, “What for?”
Luckily, the same things I need to practice to enjoy a happy and fulfilled life also help me connect with other people in meaningful ways. These connections help me make and strengthen friendships and business relationships, which enrich all areas of my life. Here are my favorite five ways to harness the power of connection:
- Give. Giving to others in your community and in your profession is a fantastic way to connect. I have volunteered for a couple of opportunities with my local SHRM chapter in Boulder, Colorado (BAHRA) recently and have been delighted at how it connects me with others and is an instant foundation for building relationships. It’s fun, feeds enthusiasm for my career and giving back to my community, and according to helpguide.org, volunteering benefits your skill development, health and well-being.
- Practice Presence. Bringing our whole, real selves to the things we do, including work, makes us happier and more confident. Amy Cuddy’s brilliant book, Presence, teaches us more than power poses—it helps us understand that practicing confidence creates confidence, and that believing in what we’re doing creates an energy that others respond to.
- Exhibit Authenticity. Online and in person, the same vision should inform our communications and interactions with others. Being authentic means speaking our own truths, but above all, listening for the connections we can find in the stories of others. According to research described in the Harvard Business Review, people who are authentic at work are happier, have lower stress, and have a stronger sense of community.
- Learn. Join with others to learn something new, and continuously strive to improve. Constant learning not only creates an organization that is more creative, full of energy and innovation, and more engaging, but it also creates those feelings in us as individuals. Even learning in small ways (for example, through the Society for Human Resource Management-SHRM’s Twitter-based #nextchat) can help us feel connected with one another and build trust by sharing our expertise, learning from others, and expressing our appreciation.
- Laugh. According to the Ithaca College HR blog, laughter not only increases our own well-being but it also attracts others to us, and laughing together creates an instant bond between individuals. I firmly believe that finding the humor in every moment possible, and not taking ourselves too seriously, is the best way to cope with the inevitable difficult situations no matter where they arise.
It’s not a coincidence that these five tips not only increase our ability to connect with other people, but also make for a happy, rewarding life! How do you connect?
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