Step 2: Stop Disconnecting
We live in a realm of instant communication. In a few seconds we can contact a client across the ocean, e-mail a colleague in another country, or facebook our friends in the next town. Yet, instantaneous wired communication does not guarantee connections. We can be isolated even as we are connecting and as a result disconnect us from the passions which fuel our creativity and the people who inspire our dreams.
I found this to be especially true when I went from working in a “cubicle farm” in a large agency to being my own boss in a home office. I am an introvert by nature and thought I’d relish this new world of peace and quiet. In fact, for many years I took a week-long silent retreat to recuperate from office politics and the extroverted nature of my job.
Unexpectedly, I missed the camaraderie and collaboration. Though I now had time and space to dream and be creative, I lacked the feedback and synergy of coworkers who helped me find practical applications for my creativity. Without this interaction, I found that I was faltering.
I was disconnecting.
Clearly I needed to re-connect, not just to people, but to my passion. Though I had known I would need to reach out to find coaching and training clients, it wasn’t going to be easy. Put me in front of strangers with a training curriculum or a presentation that I’ve developed – I’m very comfortable. But the idea of going to networking events gave me a stomach ache.
Besides, it wasn’t just clients I needed. I needed connections.
It took time, but it happened. Here are several strategies that I’ve found helpful:
- Reconnect with your passions. Start the day with silence and solitude. Sit in a comfortable chair with your morning beverage and reflect on the day’s possibilities. I journal ways to connect my to-do list with the things I love – teaching, coaching and writing.
- Find a brainstorming buddy. Since I work from home, I need someone to help me evaluate my flights of fancy. An acquaintance has become an encouraging, yet honest source of feedback. We call each other once or twice a week for focused 15-minute conversations or a brain break.
- Create or join an accountability group. Every three weeks five of us meet for an early morning session at a local café, giving updates, developing strategies, and offering encouragement.
- Network for connections first, clients second. I now enjoy these occasions because my goal is to meet new people, not find new clients. I follow up with a “nice to meet you” post card and later an email asking for a get-to-know you coffee date. (No selling, just conversation!) I have made wonderful connections as well as fast friends this way.
- Get outside. Reconnect with nature by taking a walk or having coffee at an outdoor café. It will help reignite the passions that fuel you.
Do stay wired, it’s important in the 21st Century, but reconnect to the passions that fuel you and the people that inspire you.
ADDED FEATURE: Interested in a free worksheet to help you stay focused? Click here to download it.
Coming up next: Step 3 – Control Disorganization