Connect For

November is National Blog Post Month (NaBloPoMo). This post is part of my post-a-day challenge. I have picked a theme for the challenge: song titles. These songs have been featured on live albums from KEXP (an awesome alternative radio station in Seattle), so at a minimum you will hear some great music.

You have 600 friends on Facebook, 350 LinkedIn connections and 500 followers on Twitter. But do you have any connections?

Connections = community. Said another way, your connections form your community. One hundred years ago, you would have relied upon the community for much of life. Everything from the barn raising to the sharing of crops. You would have given as much as you took.

But how do you use your connections today? How do you contribute to your network today?

One the best books I have ever read about networking isĀ Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazzi. Ferrazzi views his network similar to how he views tools that he has in his shed.

Every time he acquires a new saw or shovel, he thinks about who he knows that might also need to use the tool. When Ferrazzi sees a neighbor is doing some yard work, his mind goes to his shed. “What do I have that could help Jerry out?” He realized that the entire community can benefit from what is in his shed.

In the same way, we should use our network to help our community. Have you ever had the chance to meet someone and said “I think I’ll pass – I don’t think I would benefit from talking with her.” True, you might not benefit, but maybe the connection would be useful for someone in your network.

Acquire connections with the intent of sharing. Use your network for the betterment of your community. Challenge yourself and evaluate how much effective you are in leveraging your network for OTHERS.

You and I need to be reminded that this life isn’t all about us. Connect for others.

Choose to be excited

photo85

A few posts ago, I wrote about creating a #FAIL folder. One of the entries that occupies my #FAIL folder goes like this…a co-worker had just watched the 60 Minutes program on David Kelley and Design Thinking. When this aired in January, I was beyond excited. I felt like this 30 minutes lended validation to what I had been working toward for the past year. No longer was my way of solving problems just uncomfortable and unfamiliar, it was on 60 Minutes!

BUT…and a crucial “BUT”….but, this aired six months ago. So when my co-worker mentioned his excitement around the show, rather than choosing to be excited and stoke his excitement, I responded coldly…”you mean the one that aired six months ago?”

What a complete asshole move. I had a choice, I could have chosen to be excited, but it was old news to me and I made it known.

Why is it so easy to throw cold water on someone’s excitement? I’m guilty more that I’d like to admit. With my wife, my kids, people at work, etc.

You find yourself busy, disappointed, or just generally having a bad day and someone in your life is excited. They had a fabulous day, made an A on their spelling test, or read an article that they think you’ll find exciting. You have a choice…do you show support and celebrate whatever has made them excited? Or do you just respond with Eeyore like enthusiasm?

I’ve faced a similar choice today…and thankfully I chose to stoke the excitement. And what happened? I found myself becoming energized and excited along with my co-worker. It was infectious.

My take is that a life well lived is really about living for others. This means that much of the time you are denying yourself. If I am having a rough day, and someone comes to me with excitement, my natural desire is to stay busy, disappointed, etc. Denying myself means engaging with those around me and letting go of my to-do list, or inbox, or important project to instead be a human with other humans. To listen to what is on someone’s mind. To develop relationships that make life rich. To develop community.

I want to be excited when my family, friends and coworkers are excited. To laugh with them. To cry with them. To live life and build community. To make a choices that show I care for and love others more than I care for myself.

Will you join me?