Simple as 1-2-3!
By Carrie Ramirez, guest blogger for PureReinvention
I have the good fortune of being an integrator. What is an integrator you might ask? It is a person who leads through trust, cultivation of relationships, and connection. I see us as connected through a web of wants, needs, emotions, and activities and I use that web to accomplish goals and objectives. For me, the ability to connect is my super power! When I discovered the five PureReinvention fundamentals, I immediately gravitated towards the connect step. Based on my leadership style, it was the easiest to understand and the most rewarding to apply. I am grateful for this opportunity to share my thoughts on connection. I hope my ideas inspire the PureReinvention audience to find simple ways to connect as they reinvent our communities and our world.
#1 Connecting with People
Perhaps the first and most obvious form of connection is with people. When we are children, connection to people comes easily. We cannot live without connection at that point in our lives; it is central to our health and well-being. As babies and later, as children, we reinvent the world of our parents, families and friends to create what we need. We bond with our parents through cries and laughter. Our parents, in response, reinvent their entire lives to ensure that we are fed, clean, warm and happy. As we grow, we connect with our friends through play and school activities. In return, our peers help us create imaginative worlds where we can stretch our views, practice our social skills in a safe environment, and learn to manage needs beyond our own. As children and teens we continue to expand our connections with family and friends through holiday traditions, hobbies and sports, and our general shared experiences. Like the earlier stages of our life, as we connect in these ways, our world and the world of those we connect with is reinvented into one in which we manage new social groups, changing family dynamics, and heavier responsibilities.
Unfortunately, as we grow older, our cultural norms, our professional responsibilities and our so-called maturity (our ability to hide our feelings) can make it more difficult to connect with people. It is hard for others to read our emotions, identify our needs and understand our motivations because we no longer broadcast this information as we did when children. As adults, we need to find ways to share and then use this information about each other. It is imperative that we remember that in certain ways, we are all the same. We all have hopes, dreams and things we love. We also have fear, anger and disappointment. As adults, to connect, we must make a conscious effort to share our own needs and wants while also understanding the desires of those around us. We can do this through facial expressions, body language, discussion, or action. In order to connect, we must understand what motivates, demoralizes, and inspires.
Here is the truth. In order to reinvent our families, our business, our community, or our world we need to connect as adults. Through connection, we maximize strength and minimize weakness. When I build teams at work and pursue personal projects, one goal is to connect people that compliment my skills and inspire them to action. I do not want a homogenous team. I want to strategically connect visionaries with savvy communicators, diligent researchers, and detail-oriented processors. Accomplishing this goal takes work. I must talk to people, watch their actions, look for people’s motivation, and ask for help. In response to this effort, I get a high quality team that can accomplish goals, faster, better and with more accuracy. The team becomes a reinvention machine!
#2 Connecting Actions
Connecting actions can actually be a lot of fun and be immediately rewarding. Ironically, it often helps us leap past the barriers that keep us from connecting with people. Action helps us build our village. For this discussion, I will share personal examples as it illustrates how easily something simple can accumulate into something powerful. It is the law of accumulation: “A small thing accumulated over time can become a big thing.” For the PureReinvention audience, this means that small actions taken over time and connected to the small actions of others can result in reinvention and positive change.
I am at the age where my friends and family are starting to experience the hardships of life: death/loss, significant health issues, financial crisis, etc. These are things in which people often have no control, are overwhelmed and yet, do not know how to ask for help. At the same time, those of us who love them, have no idea how to help effectively either. One solution is to connect mundane tasks together and fill needs. For example:
• If I am making dinner, I make extra and take a plate to someone that can no longer make their own meals.
• If I run to the grocery store, I call a friend going through chemo and ask what is needed and pick it up for her. It only costs me a few minutes and makes a world of difference for her family.
• If my children need school supplies, I ask a friend who’s child is hospitalized if her children are covered.
Applying the same concepts to reinvention, we can more easily see the opportunities to amplify our actions by connecting with others. If we connect things we do everyday to a bigger cause, we end up with positive change beyond just fulfilling the needs of our family and ourselves.
#3 Connecting Opportunities
The final concept to discuss is being aware of and connecting opportunities together. If we dissect the first two concepts a little further, we realize that connection with people and connection of action is not possible without connection of opportunity. As people committed to reinvention, we need to take advantage of opportunities to connect but we also must create opportunities for others to connect. I think of this as listening to the universe but others may think of it as following their instincts, listening to their heart, or following their creator. Regardless of what you call it, take advantage of opportunities and reinvention follows. Consider some examples from my own personal experience.
After my father died, I realized that some of my friends had a knack for calling when I needed it most. I originally thought that it was just coincidence or good luck on my part. I now realize that my friends were listening to their instincts and embracing an opportunity. Their heart and mind told them I was going through a tough time, they had five minutes and they chose to call me and see how I was doing. In response, my entire day turned around. I no longer felt so alone. Consequently, I no longer ignore the opportunities that my heart and mind put in front of me. When my head tells me, “You should call Jane”. I call, text or email. Nine times out of ten, Jane needed to hear from a friend at just that moment.
A more recent experience occurred while following the actions of my children’s school district. Parents heard a rumor that school closings were needed and that one school in particular, my children’s high performing school, was targeted. A parent meeting was thrown together and I decided that this was one time I needed to attend and get involved. I did not typically concern myself with the overall function of the district because my children were doing well and the schools they attended seemed to be thriving. In this case, I felt the tug from something outside, I would call it the universe, telling me this was some sort of opportunity I needed to check out. In answering that call, I met a group of phenomenal people, became a watchdog of the district (a role I never would have embraced on my own) and saw a world of possibility for making my community better. In case you are wondering, we did not save the school. However, we realized that we could save what the school represented, the opportunity to connect with neighbors, to know when and how to help our friends, and to give children what they needed. We could reinvent the school into a community action center that could be a hub of connection within our township. The possibilities for reinventing our community now seem to numerous to count!
Pulling it all together
Connecting can seem like the hardest step of the five PureReinvention fundamentals. It may not come naturally to connect with people. Taking big action may seem overwhelming. Finding the right time and place to connect may not be obvious. However, if we take small steps, they accumulate over time into something much bigger. Understanding what inspires and motivates people helps us connect with them. Small actions we do everyday lead to big change. We can best connect with people and connect actions when we look for and create opportunities. Reinvention awaits if we connect!
Listen to Carrie’s Podcast: