Building Connections

Life is about connections. We’ve been learning this since kindergarten. Connection is more than just knowing someone. It’s about recognizing the ways our lives intertwine.

Some people are naturally adept at social interactions. While they may have a talent, it is a skill; it can be learned and perfected. Talents that are not recognized, used or nurtured are worthless. Thus, it takes actual skill to become a networker.

After marrying, I moved to a farmhouse in Poolville, Texas. Poolville is a small, “blink as you’re driving by the Diamond Shamrock and you’ll miss it” sort of town. A few months later, I joined the Army and I was sent to Monterey, California for linguistic training. I was assigned to one of many languages, one of many classes, one of many desks and against all odds, the girl sitting next to me was also from the tiny town of Poolville, Texas. She drove by our farmhouse every day for years, never knowing me until we were thousands of miles away from home.

This happened again on a dance floor in Santa Cruz. I turned around and found myself facing a college friend from Texas. As it turns out, neither one of us lived in Santa Cruz, we were both only there for one night to go to that club.

It happened again and again and again. The first few experiences like this were surprising, but I didn’t know what to do with it. I was merely amazed by the coincidence. Over time however, I’ve learned that the connections already exist. They have always been there, all around us.

The world is smaller than we think. There are fewer than 6 degrees between any one of us.

Last month I was at a conference in Mexico where I met a yoga teacher from Austin. I asked, “how close is the yoga community in Austin? He replied, “Well, there are a lot of us. Why do you ask?” I explained that I have a friend who moved to Austin several years ago who found her passion in teaching yoga. “What’s her name?” he asked. I bet you can guess what happened next. He knew her, of course. More amazingly than that… she works for him! Instant connection. We didn’t meet each other in Austin or even in Texas, but in Mexico. We didn’t meet each other as a result of an introduction from our mutual friend. We were brought together naturally, as people often are, and we were able to connect the dots between us.

In the last few years, I’ve honed my skills to recognize patterns in conversations. I’m asking the right questions and I’m always surprised at the revelations, but I’ve gotten to the point where I expect to find a connection.

Facebook and social media have really made it a small world, but there is something to be treasured about these human connections – the ties that bind is together through our stories and not just the hierarchical links on LinkedIn.

We are part of the whole, being drawn together to be more than we are alone. Your connections will make you stronger.

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