Banner Image - Try This - April2013I think it’s fair to say that I am an achievement-oriented person. While that quality has served me well, sometimes it gets in my way. I have a tendency to get wrapped up in the task at hand.

For example, in my early days at IBM I managed certification programs, and I trained SMEs to write and review test questions. Back in those days, we had in-person meetings, 3 meetings per test, with roughly 1 dozen SMEs per meeting, and different SMEs at each meeting. I was developing 10-12 tests a year and I did this for nearly 7 years. You can do the math. That’s a lot of people. I was so focused on following the test development methodology and getting the tests created that I did not really get to know these amazing, brilliant people. That missed opportunity is the biggest regret I have about my early career.

Today, I recognize that ‘getting the work’ done is just as much about building relationships and experiencing what I’m learning, as it is delivering the actual product or solution. The missed opportunities serve to remind me to be curious about everyone I meet. I am learning to reach out, to make connections, to see myself as part of a larger community. Being curious seems to help me with this.

What I am discovering is that curiosity requires a genuine interest in the other person, and that it’s hard to be genuinely interested in someone else when I am absorbed in myself. Getting out of myself requires slowing down, focusing, and to be intentional about what I want to create when I am with the other person.

Try This!

Below are some questions I’ve been pondering to keep me focused on the relationship side of the equation:

  • What opportunities do I have to connect with others?
  • How can I strengthen those connections?
  • What does it feel like when I make a meaningful connection?
  • What do I create for myself when I make a connection?
  • What do I create for the other person when I make a connection?
  • How does connecting with others change my experience of a situation?
  • How can curiosity help me make stronger connections?

I’ve challenged myself to be curious about everyone I meet, to see every relationship as a possibility, and to meet each one with good will.  Want to join the challenge?



Quotes to Contemplate

  • Getting to know someone else involves curiosity about where they have come from, who they are. ~Penelope Lively
  • Genuine listening means suspending memory, desire, and judgment — and, for a moment at least, existing for the other person.  ~Michael P. Nichols
  • Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention. ~Jim Rohn
  • So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it. ~Jiddu Krishnamurti
  • People may not remember what you say, people may not remember what you do, but they will always remember how you made them feel.  ~Maya Angelou
  • It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. …I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.  ~Oriah Mountain Dreamer
  • If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others.”  ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  • In organizations, real power and energy is generated through relationships.  The pattern of relationships and the capabilities to form them are more important than tasks, functions, roles and positions. ~Margaret Wheatley
  • Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me. ~Albert Schweitzer


Click on the link below to access the April calendar featuring highlights from this post.

April 2013 Connection Try This! Calendar

Credit to Hector Bird for this month’s featured photo compilation of flowers, taken at the Franklin Park and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, OH.

© Vicki L. Flaherty, Leading With Intention, 2013

Author: Vicki L Flaherty

I am most alive when I am creating, whether through writing, photography, gardening, cooking, crafting, sewing, yoga. I enjoy traveling because it opens me to greater awareness and new possibilities. I find a special joy when I’ve helped someone see their brilliance and express their full potential. As I've focused on living more mindfully, I've found special joy in expressing myself through poetry and photography, and in truly being in relationship with those I meet along my journey.

16 thoughts on “Connection”

  1. Fabulous!! Really enjoyed this and the same lesson applies to me… Thanks for explaining your journey with such Clarity, Vicki!

    1. Maureen, I’m glad you enjoyed the post and found something in it for yourself. Thanks to you for all you do to help me gain clarity about myself and my journey – focusing on my strengths is helping me see so much!

  2. Yes so true Vicki. What a difference that 5 minutes of personal/social chat at the beginning of a call makes to building a relationship. As you identified, this does require slowing down, and enables meeting people where they are at today, with greater empathy.

    1. Meeting people where they are is such an invitation, isn’t it? I find it helps to connect with the strategic aspect of the work we’re doing and focus on what we can accomplish together.

  3. I absolutely agree with you Vicki. I once heard a sports broadcaster’s lecture to a Management Institute (Youtube – Harsha Bhogle’s speech at IIM Ahmedabad) where he talks about all of us so very focused on our destination that we forget to enjoy the journey, a very pertinent thought indeed. Thank you for making all of us a part of your journey which in turn leads us to introspect and enjoy the journey ourselves. Much appreciated.

  4. Working in a Global company makes it often so easy to rush from one task to another without proper thought to the people we work with. Thank you for the reminder, how important it is to keep in mind our colleagues as individual persons, even if we don’t get to meet them face to face in this virtual world of ours. Great Connection!

    1. Yes, I find the focus on results sometimes keeps us from tuning into the humanity around us. We can have both – amazing results and powerful connections. In fact, my story line is that without powerful human connection amazing results are not possible. Thanks for sharing, Paivi.

  5. Absolutely true, Vicki! And I realised reading your thoughts that it is even more important to conciously make these connections in the virtual environment we work, not having the obvious opportunities like going for a coffee, having lunch etc. I am experiencing that using few minutes for a personal chat at the beginning of calls (as mentioned above) does surprise a lot of people at the beginning – in a positive way! – and then very often it leads to wonderful thoughts we exchange.

    1. It makes such a difference when we honor each other as human beings first. I’m sure you are supporting great success with the folks you meet with. Keep creating that positive energy!

  6. Loved the post Vicki – it is so true. Your reflection on missed relationships is very powerful. We focus so much on creating the perfect deliverable that we forget we are presenting it to a person or a group of persons.

    Will reflect on this as I interact with each new person this month…thank you!

  7. This is so right on. As I work on helping people understand the social space, more and more I am talking to them about relationships and connectivity. Slowing down and really coming from that true place is the only thing that works. Thanks again for a great read.

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