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In the last few weeks, I have been experiencing different types of connections happening around me. First, I am meeting new people from all walks of life across multiple areas of my life. Second, I am connecting with a different, less cerebral part of my inner self. And third, I am opening myself to access my Guides more frequently.
Craving connection is essential to the human condition; it brings passion, motivation, and love to everything we do. Without it we would wither and die. It is impossible for us as a species to survive without this deep sense of interdependence.
As leaders, we want to be connected to the mission and purpose of our team or company, to the people we lead, and to something bigger than ourselves.
As a COR.E Leadership Dynamics Specialist, we learned that there are six types of connection. As you read each one, reflect on which categories are currently very strong in your life and those that may need more attention. We have the power to create all these types of connection instead of waiting for something outside of our control to make them happen.
1) The state of flow
This is when we are deeply connected to an activity to the point that we lose track of time. This concept of being in the flow has been studied many times. According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, total focus is a sense of oneness with what you are doing.
I love this concept of being in the flow. It is both being connected to the activity being done and to the present moment. For me it happens when I am reading (both fiction and nonfiction), writing, and coaching. Finding which activities take me to my flow state has been a journey. And I have noticed that they have changed in time.
As I explore how I will spend my time in the second act of my career, it is truly clear to me that I want many more moments of being in the flow.
In the last couple of months, I have developed some routines to create more moments of flow. For example, every weekday, after breakfast, I read for one hour and take notes including my own thoughts and reactions about what I am reading.
Anchoring this activity to happen after breakfast, signals my brain ‘reading’ is what is happening next. I am looking to break the inertia to start an activity that I have identified as taking me to a flow state.
“One of the most frequently mentioned dimensions of the flow experience is that, while it lasts, one is able to forget all the unpleasant aspects of life.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
2) Connection to self
This type of connection is linked to being self-aware of our physical body, emotions, and thoughts. This is where we access our authenticity to bring our whole person to all aspects of life and to connect with others.
Last week I attended an event on how to market your business to potential clients. A few minutes into the presentation, I started to feel uncomfortable. I began to fidget, I could not find a comfortable position on the chair where I sit every day, and I wanted to leave the meeting.
I took a deep breath to refocus my brain on the topic at hand. After the meeting, I journaled for a few minutes on the reaction I had to the material presented. I realized that my body and thoughts were responding to a subject that is completely outside of my area of expertise.
I recognized that not knowing something makes me very uncomfortable and my first reaction is to bury my head in the sand by disengaging. Realizing this is important because when it happens again, I will be able to shift faster to ‘student’ mode, come up with questions, and decide if the topic being presented is something I want to pursue or not.
“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” – Carl Jung
3) Connection to people around you
This is an interesting one. On one hand, at the very essence of who we are (at the quantum and subatomic level), there is no separation between us and others (people, places, things, etc.). On the other hand, our ego has created an illusion for us to see something outside of ourselves and believe that they are not part of us.
Becoming aware that the essence of being human is the same for everyone completely changes our view, decreases level of judgment, and increases acceptance.
All of us are looking for the same handful of things even when we are not conscious of it: we want to have meaning, create impact, love and be loved, and go after a purpose bigger than ourselves.
Every person we meet is our teacher and student. I experience this almost every day with the multiple interactions I have with family members, friends, colleagues, and even people I have not met.
People come in and out of our lives for different reasons and stay for long or short periods of time. If we think about it deeply, we will be able to identify what each individual taught us about life, ourselves, a specific situation, etc. Using our listening and empathy skills allows us to perceive what is going on below the surface thus creating a deeper connection with each person.
“Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.” – Unknown
4) Connection to the environment
This is the connection to both nature and all structures like buildings, houses, art, etc.
I admit that my connection to nature is not the strongest. I have always been a very urban person so nature to me is going to a city park, like Central Park, or a botanical garden.
I have had the goal of experiencing more of nature for the longest time. With the lockdown in 2020, I took walks around my house more often, so I was able to see the trees changing as the seasons passed. This is my starting point and I want to build on it.
“…and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?” – Vincent Willem van Gogh
5) Connection to life itself
This is one of my favorites because it is related to how we choose to show up in life. It is completely aligned with my high internal locus of control (I believe I create the results in my life based on my own effort and abilities).
When we make a conscious decision to show up in everything we do aligned with our purpose in life, with a growth mindset, and with the intention of sowing seeds to benefit others, it brings the inevitable side effect of happiness and joy.
Instead of comparing with or competing against other people, we want to improve today’s version of ourselves. Our purpose in life is not to get ahead of other people, but to get ahead of ourselves.
I still get into the comparison game more often than I would like. For a long time, my motivation to improve myself was to be better than other people.
One of the things I am doing now to move away from comparison, is first to articulate as clearly as possible what I want to achieve. Then I start with a minimum viable product or version. Instead of comparing myself to others doing something similar, I seek to learn from their experience and apply it to my first version to create the second one.
This is a journey, and I cannot say I am out of the comparison game yet. I remind myself often that others have been doing what I am only starting much longer than me.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
6) Connection to your higher self
Many people believe, me included, there is something greater than themselves. Whether we call it God, the Universe, or something else is not important.
This type of connection is also linked to knowing that the divine is within each of us.
This is another kind of connection I am currently developing mostly through meditation and through allowing the Universe and my Guides to ‘talk’ to me by surrendering control of every little detail in my life.
I am learning to trust the process, my instincts, and that everything that comes to my life has a purpose regardless of how I judge each specific event.
“The Higher Self is whispering to you softly in the silence between your thoughts.” – Deepak Chopra
What types of connection are the strongest for you and which ones need more attention? How do you go about creating these connections? Please, let us know in the comments. You can write in English, Spanish, Portuguese or French.
My mission is to help women transform their inner voice from critic to champion, so they can confidently realize and fulfill their potential achieving what they want most for themselves, their families, communities, organizations, and teams.