Clear Confident Leader Weekly Observer, Issue #19
From the Greenbelt of Boise, Idaho, Covered in Snow
When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection – or compassionate action. – Daniel Goleman
I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship. – Dr Brené Brown
The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…. A loving silence often has more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words. – Rachel Naomi Remen
Connecting with other people is an essential human nutrient. Without connection babies suffer significant developmental delays. As adults we need connection with others to live healthy, productive lives. Connection with other people creates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional and physical well-being.
With increased focus on getting things done, and staying up-to-date with the electronic world, it is easy to overlook connecting. Without healthy connections, relationships wither and fade away, and cultures erode. We risk losing the engagement and commitment from those upon whom we most depend: our families, friends, colleagues and neighbors.
One of my favorite anecdotes is from the first paragraph of The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization. It is,
Amongst the tribes of northern Natal in South Africa, the most common greeting, equivalent to “hello” in English, is the expression: Sawu bona. It literally means, “I see you.” If you are a member of the tribe, you might reply by saying Sikhona, “I am here.” The order of the exchange is important: until you see me, I do not exist. It’s as if, when you see me, you bring me into existence.
The greeting comes from an understanding that we are individuals because of the acknowledgment, respect and connection we have with other people. Creating connections where people feel seen, heard, and valued are essential for the well-being of families, organizations and communities.
As we celebrate the Holidays and New Year, now is a good time to refocus on building the connections that will help expand our world, and increase our capacity for compassionate action.
The most basic and powerful way to do that, is by listening to connect with each person we engage. By giving our attention, and seeking to see, hear and value their perspective, we build a better future for both of us, and those around us.
Listening to Connect is a foundational skill of Conversational Intelligence®. To learn more about how it could assist you, visit here.
Let’s create a better future today!