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Exploring the Value of Connections

By: jwilder

I know instinctively I would be better off connecting with others. However, in practice, I find it difficult.

I am also convinced that the progress we make directly correlates to the number of quality connections we cultivate.

To get a better understanding, it helps to examine the various aspects of connections.

Why Connect?

Why make the effort to connect to anyone?

I believe we were meant to connect. It is a healthy and natural desire. Children always want to play with others.

Unfortunately, it also exposes us to hurt. Then we repress the desire to connect in order to shield us from harm.

Both experiences are valid. But there needs to be a balance.

Why make connections?

  • We do not have all the answers.
  • It opens the door for more or better opportunities to come to us.
  • It affirms our belief that helping others is a good thing.

The amount of impact we have can be much greater if we connect with great people. We can try to do things on our own, but our progress will be slower.

Make Good Quality Connections

One-way connections will eventually decay.

Creating a huge network is difficult to manage and even take advantage. We end up wasting time just managing a list. Then we forget about it.

Quality connections are people that care about you. They make the time to respond to you.

We should also strive to be a quality connection to others.

The best connections are two-way, caring, and lifelong.

Create New Connections

If you have a growth mindset you are always open to making new connections.

There are different ways to connect.

What is your preferred method for others to connect with you?

I think having a physical card, like a business card, is the best way to share contact information in-person. They can later add the information to their contact list at their convenience.

Cultivate Your Connections.

Relationships will decay if they are not cultivated.

Make note of things they do and things they enjoy.

  • Pick someone to encourage or just say hello.
  • Tell someone you appreciate them
  • Send someone an article you think they would be interested in.
  • Send a holiday greeting.

We can come up with creative ways to keep our connections active.

Think lifelong, not just project or business.

Sometimes we connect with people because of the projects we are working on. Then we lose touch after the project is over.

Think about them. If they are a good person and talented, then why lose touch?

Our projects and even our dreams change, but the person is the value.

I connected with an automotive writer. We collaborated and I wrote an article about him. He had been writing for several years. I loved this guy's writing because I was always entertained by his style. He was getting good exposure. However, a few months after I published my article he completely unplugged his website.

At the time I thought I lost a reason to stay connected. But really, the person is the connection, not the project. The project or dream is merely a reflection.

Think about connections as lifelong.

Types of Connections

Here is where we see the power of connections. There are so many ways and good reasons to connect with people.

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Alliances
  • Synergies
  • Expertise
  • Support (network)

It is great to connect to people that have a common interest. We can help others and gain from others. Writers to writers. Photographers to Photographers. Entrepreneurs to Entrepreneurs.

Your support network is crucial.

Barriers to Connecting

If everyone was friendly, not judgmental, and honestly helpful, would there be any barriers?

The key is to not let these barriers keep us from enjoying the benefits of positive connections.

There are people that are friendly, not judgmental, and honestly helpful.

Start with your friends and family. Than add one new quality connection at a time.

Tools to Connect

Your smartphone address book is a good place to start, but it is not a good tool to track other aspects.

Once I made a list of people I added them to a text file (I use Dropbox to access it from anywhere).

I kept the list below twenty contacts. I used the format below. To separate the contacts, I used three dots (...) on a separate line, with a blank line above and below.

This made me focus on the habit and process first. Don't spend hours upon hours trying different apps.

Name: John Doe
Short Description: Writer for favorite magazine
Freeform Notes:
Include a short description. Include personal details such as likes German cars.
Include social media presence.
Include email address.
Include follow up note.
LastContactDate=1/1/2020
Tags: #writer #blogger #artist

This list is only for your most valuable contacts. It is a list of people you desire to maintain a relationship for a lifetime.

Action

1. Your first asset is your contact list on your phone. Start using it. Who are your closest friends? Tell them what you are doing. Keep them up-to-date.

2. Start building the next type of connection.

3. Note what you learned and refine the process.

Finally

We are not alone on this path.

Think about connections as lifelong.

Like all things in life, we get out of it what we put into it.

The progress we make directly correlates to the number of quality connections we utilize.

Are you ready to take action? Ready to start the journey? You aren't in this alone.

I have something just for you...

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James Wilder

James Wilder is the creator of Great Is The Way.

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