Imagine the scene. I’d sat down to write about connection. I’d had a bit of a day. A bit of a week really. Lots going on. Being pulled this way and that. My usual rhythms out of synch. Most of you can probably relate. We live in such a busy and [over] stimulating world. It seemed beautifully ironic that I was now asking myself to write about something that matters enormously to me and yet has been challenging of late. All the more reason to write about it I guess. Bring it into sharp focus.

Connection.

Connection to me. Connection to others. Connection to a bigger picture, a more sacred perspective.

I see a yearning for connection everywhere. It’s at the very heart of who we are as human beings. We are made for connection.

Connection has drawn me into the work I do now. It’s right at the heart of my job. No let’s take it a step further. It’s right at the heart of my purpose in life. Supporting others to transform and evolve, whether individuals, teams or organisations, takes a lot of connection, at many levels.

Perhaps it’s the same for you. Just pause for a moment. Think about your life and your work. Is it possible that all along you’ve been trying to get to know yourself better, understand what makes you tick, what will bring you happiness, what you’re here to do, what will connect you to you? That’s a yearning for connection.

When we are more rather than less connected to ourselves we feel more present and aligned. We are more available to connect to others authentically and to see the meaning in our lives and work.

So what is it that gets in the way of connection? And what is it that enables it?

In writing about this I’ll focus on connection to self whilst acknowledging the three aspects of connection…to self, to others, to a bigger picture…are all interdependent. A bit like the three legs of a stool. They’re all needed to give us the most stable seat upon which to sit. In our life all three aspects of connection support us in living and working in fullness.

The things that get in the way of connection can be both internally sourced and externally based.

Internally, unhelpful thinking patterns and beliefs are significant barriers. These can take many forms. Recently, I’ve come across Comparison and Self-Judgment as key characters in this unhelpful thinking patterns and beliefs play.

One of my workshop participants said to me last week “How can I stop comparing myself to everyone? It makes me feel rubbish”. This is a very good question and a very good point. We don’t do our best work when we feel rubbish. Yet interestingly the majority of organisations are set up to promote comparison. That’s food for thought.

In our external environment, 21st century living and working presents many connection challenges. The 24 hour culture we reside in and the “head-down, leaning-over a small hand-held screen” stance that prevails, is not conducive to connecting. The pace of our lives and the expectations in our work similarly challenge us.

These things though do have remedies.

Let’s take the pace of life. Quite simply, slowing down would be a good start.

When we take the time, with ourselves and with others, there is opportunity for connection to deepen and grow. We can go inwards too and cultivate mindsets to support this slowing down. In a similar vein we can cultivate mindsets to counter the comparison and self-judging barriers to connection.

With these slowing down and self-acceptance mindset shifts we have great potential to really meet and see ourselves and others, to enhance the quality of our relationships and to improve our performance at work.

We might ask a team member how they are feeling about being asked to work at a client-site in another city for a period of time. We might take the time to say hello to our neighbours and have a chat. We might pause and ask the check-out assistant at the supermarket how their day is going. We might ask our partner about their day when we meet at home. We might celebrate wholeheartedly in other peoples’ success because we are no longer comparing. We might have the courage to speak up about something that matters to us at work or at home because we are no longer judging ourselves.

Other simple, practical connection enablers are breathing well, being grounded, open and present, appreciating beauty in all its forms, taking time to play, living in line with what matters to us and knowing how we personally access a state of flow. Is it through research at work, or talking to clients, or facilitating workshops, or sport, or art, or music, or writing or something else completely different?

My own experience is that when I’m able to access a place of full and deep connection it’s a magical experience. I tap into something wonderful inside. It feels like it’s my own connected power. A power sourced from the heart. A power that has no concept of ‘power over others’. Not at all. Much more akin to a power sourced by and through connection.

In this connected place I do my best work, I have insight about things that have been bothering me, I enjoy relationships on a deeper level and I feel altogether more vital…a fuller and more vibrant expression of who I am. It’s a wonderful way to live and work.

Connected living. Connected working. These are my aspirations. Always. For me. For you. For everyone.