It seems everyone wants to know how to live more fulfilled lives and foster happier families.
All while creating stronger teams, and having happier clients.
And why not?
Can you imagine a life where that was your reality?
The good news is, according to research, the key to it all is connectedness.
A concept pioneered and championed by world-renowned psychiatrist Dr. Ned Hallowell.
Connectedness is the feeling of being part of something larger than yourself, that matters to you.
It can be a major driver for success in your life and work.
Connectedness is a topic that can look “soft” on the surface but is actually rooted in science and research.
The warmth of relationships throughout life has the greatest positive impact on life satisfaction.
Lack of connection with others can damage the immune system, with those who are isolated having a 50% greater risk of premature death, compared to those who foster stronger social connections.
Connect with yourself
Do you focus more on your negative traits and perceived flaws, rather than on your positive characteristics?
This is common among successful people.
But, it really can drain the joy of life, both at home and at work.
Try the following steps:
- Make a list of 12 adjectives that describe you. Draw a rectangle around the one that you’d like to change or modify. Draw circles around the three that you are most proud of. Then, write down one thing you did this year that makes you feel proud of yourself.
- Write one sentence to your favourite teacher or coach from the past, telling them how he or she helped you. Bringing that person to mind will help create a sense of connection and strengthen your ability to feel and show appreciation.
Doing these exercises is more important than what you write.
Research shows they help people prioritise what matters most.
That those involved in the study also reported that sharing their life with others, felt more important than being ambitious.
The actions themselves increase your connectedness with yourself.
Connect with your team
Your team could be your colleagues at work, or it could be the people you partner with in a group (charitable, political, social, etc.).
Connected teams have members who trust each other deeply and who communicate with openness and candour.
Connected teams also have conflicts.
Pushback and creative tension among teams are signs of engagement and free speech.
They also have a growth mindset.
A belief that, no matter what, you can acquire the skills you need to achieve big things.
If you're in a position of power or authority on your team, lead the way in these areas.
Encourage team members to give you feedback on your performance.
If they see you making mistakes, ask them to let you know about it.
Here are two ways to start building team connectedness:
- In five bullet points, describe the leading strengths and weaknesses of your team. Include three strengths and two weaknesses, so that you focus more on the positive than the negative.
- Write one congratulatory sentence to your team and share it with them. It might be something like “This last quarter was especially challenging, but you all put in the extra time we needed in order to hit our goal, and I really appreciate it!”.
Connect with your clients
Unsurprisingly, deep connections with clients can generate positive outcomes.
The more you're connected with clients, the more loyal they will be.
Building deep connections starts with paying attention.
Your job is to get rid of the distractions that block you from connecting.
During client interactions, slow down.
If you can, wear headphones and walk around the office so that you can focus entirely on the call, not the computer and other distractions on your desk.
You must pay attention consistently over time - one good meeting isn’t enough.
Have regular meetings.
Don’t be driven to present them with facts and figures and then call it a day.
Perhaps the greatest thing about connectedness is that it’s both powerful and free.
You just need to tap into it.