deborah fingerlow|milkweedI’ve been struggling with how to share something with you for weeks now.  You see, I have this ability to reach out and connect with people.  Not necessarily someone I know.  Anyone.  My family calls it my superpower, and they gleefully push me forward in any situation, because they know the outcome.  Connecting is my superpower.

Connect and good things will happen.

Our room will be upgraded.  We’ll be seated immediately.  We’re invited to experience something wonderful.  I am helped in countless ways, both great and small.

But how? And why is this important?

It hit me today.  There isn’t a list of steps involved, although I can share things to make the transition easier.  It’s a complete shifting of the mindset.  It doesn’t happen overnight; like fine wine you have to mellow a bit before you’re ready.

I’ve always been a listener.  As a writer, this skill served me well for years and still does to this day.  Writers are obsessed with details; we listen, we look, we try to take everything in.  When telling a story, it’s important to have those nuances, to remember the small things. We want to paint you a verbal picture.

Listening is the first step in learning to connect.

I got more practice in when my son was born.  Diagnosed with life-threatening allergies at nine months old, I no longer had the luxury of sitting on the sidelines.  I had to learn to engage.  24/7.  More than that, I had to learn to connect effectively.  I didn’t want to be “that Mom.”  I learned when to be subtle, and when to be assertive.  I learned to be calm and direct.

Most importantly, I learned how to connect with people by offering something of myself in return.  I discovered how to make it a winning connection for both of us.

So, why should you care?

Let me ask it another way.  What if you could stop being lonely in crowded places?  What if you looked at an interview as a chance to learn something new?  What if your life could be made better simply by connecting with the people around you?  What if those connections could make you happier?

Think about it.  Really think about it.

Is there any reason not to?  Most of us yearn for a connection, a sense of camaraderie, a sense of belonging.  We may not recognize it, or know how to act on it, but it’s there.  It’s a seed that, once given water and sunlight, can grow.

Conversations, given time and genuine effort, blossom into connections.  One thing leads to another and before you even realize it, you’re a happier person.

Connections come in all sizes and shapes. 

There is value in a brief interaction at the market.  There is value in greeting the neighbor’s joyful dog.  There is value in holding open the door and smiling hello. There is value in reading to your children.  There is value in talking with your family over a meal.  There is value all around us.

Please don’t miss out on a chance to make your life happier, to be more content, to be more alive.  Lift up your head and look around the next time you head out the door.

And don’t forget to smile and say hello when you see me.



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