Staying Connected Is YOUR Responsibility

There has been plenty written during the pandemic about the physical and mental health benefits of staying connected to others. Much of it based on research, studies, etc. However, the connectedness I am writing of here is a one degree of separation curated network. You know who these people are. People who when you get together on the phone, Zoom, in person, etc. time passes differently. Your mind and ideas are stretched, you feel a “deep” connection. People who you think to yourself “In a different career or life path, I could’ve worked really well with that person…we seem to resonate.” They may indeed be people you work with, or they may be your friends. They are more likely “close colleagues” you don’t see very often. Maybe once or twice a year, or every 18 months. During the pandemic, I have had a few personal learnings about this group.

First, I realized it’s my responsibility to stay connected to them. People get busy. They have a family, a job, plenty of friends. And oftentimes, these tangential collegial relationships slip through the cracks. A strategy I have been using in 2021 is one I call “Occasionally Occurring Catch Up Meetings…” At the end of each call or meeting, I tell the other person “As long as you don’t mind, I’ll calendar our next call sometime in the next couple days for 5 – 7 weeks out … we can always move it, cancel, etc.” It has kept me connected in a much better rhythm. I’ve used it with small groups as well.

Second, I am amazed at the power and positive-mojo of these interactions. Invariably, when updates are swapped and the conversation heads down a path, some rich kernel of information or some way in which one of us can help one another percolates up. That may seem obvious, but I am continuously amazed at the reverberating waves of positive energy that emanate from these discussions.

Here are a few additional thoughts to the extent you may want to try this. You must be willing to be vulnerable. Surface level, positive ego enhancing only comments about yourself will not elicit deep conversation. Second – sit down with a clean sheet of paper and make the list of who, and then take control of a more consistent rhythm. Set up the next meeting right away, and check a couple days in advance if it still works hen you get there. Your life, and I would argue the lives of your friends, stand to be richer as a result.