The ultimate connector

Posted on Thursday.10.22.2009


Life and leadership is about connecting. To make the greatest impact and influence on people you have to be able to connect with them and connect them to others. Though connecting may seem like an easy thing, most people mistake conversing or a fun, positive conversation as connecting with someone.

That’s not how connecting works. In order to really connect with someone, it has to go beyond fun, beyond positive, beyond feeling good. People are less likely to relate to all your successes, your happy days and how easy it was for you to do something.

On the other hand, if you’re able to share your pains and downsides in order to relate to people in their lowest points, there’s a richer and deeper connection being made. Everyone appreciates greatness and often times, success seems immediate but when someone is at their lowest point or in a time of painful growth, our past and current struggles and pain will connect much more deeply than all our wins.

People’s souls are uplifted and people feel seen when their pain is acknowledged. They feel connected. If you are able to connect with someone with your own pain, you may open up the person’s ability to connect with all people not just you. The easiest thing for someone to do is pretend that everything is ok and act happy. Your ability to strategically share your pain can create an avenue to break surface-level leading, working and living.

Three practical ways to share your pain:

  1. Keen self-awareness: You have to know yourself and have an immense understanding of both your strengths and your weaknesses. If you inflate your strengths but can only go surface-level with your weaknesses, people tend to be turned off by that. It goes the other way too though. You don’t want to be the person who only talks about their weaknesses and is shy about their strengths. You have to be self-aware to live in that balance.
  2. Be strategic: It’s not about sharing everything that you’re going through every single time something painful comes up. Verbal diarrhea is not the goal. It’s about being strategic with what parts of your struggles you share with which people. You don’t share your frustration about your boss with your boss, but you may share your frustration with a boss to someone else, when you are a boss speaking to a disgruntled employee.
  3. Practice the 90/10 rule: As you share 90% of your life, whoever you’re trying to connect with may share 10% of theirs. The more times you share, the more you’ll connect. One conversation or one confession of a mistake or struggle doesn’t connect. Misery loves company. Walk with someone in their pain and struggle with something you’ve struggled with yourself. It’ll change that person’s situation or life.

Being the ultimate connector isn’t always going to glamorous or fun, but it will give you insight into someone’s life and help to lead them better.

Posted in: leadership, vision