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“Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard and valued.” – Brene Brown

Years ago while on a business trip to Milwaukee, Mark Sharenbroich discovered the power we each have to connect more fully with others. Let me explain.

Harley Davidson’s 100th anniversary celebration had attracted enthusiasts from around the world to Wisconsin. From vagabond riders to weekend warriors, tens of thousands of bikers convened in the city. Although their backgrounds were wildly different, they had a simple, disarming way of connecting with one another.

Mark observed that, when one enthusiast approached another for the first time, the first words spoken were often: “Nice bike.”

These two words lowered barriers. Built a bridge of shared interest and mutual respect. And poured the foundation for genuine connection. Mark observed that, in acknowledging what was important to a fellow rider, an instant and authentic connection was made.

More importantly, he realized that, what is true for Harley Davidson enthusiasts is true for all of us. Mark suggests three ways to deepen our connection with others:

  1. Acknowledge. “The people in front of you have to be more important than someone on a screen far away,” Mark emphasizes. Do you confuse being next to someone as being with them? In a world that is sprinting forward and often self-focused, strive to put down the phone, set aside your needs, be present and look into the eyes of the person you are with.
  2. Honor. Going into conversations, meetings and relationships we often focus much more on our needs than anything else. It’s why we order our coffee without looking into the barista’s eyes; and why we formulate our response rather than fully listen. Flip the script. Go into your experiences valuing the other person’s needs. Make it your goal to create a rich experience around what’s important to him/her. You’ll see in the end that this will benefit you, too.
  3. Connect. Just because we are part of the same team doesn’t mean we’re truly connected. Our opportunity in every relationship is to show sincere appreciation for the other and to make our appreciation personal. Think of not just wishing someone a happy birthday, but following up your well wishes by asking if she was able to spend it doing (fill in the blank with an activity you know she enjoys). Or how about noting what someone was worried about at your last meeting and checking in with them to see how it’s going the next time you see them. This more personal rapport will lead to a richer bond; showing you know who they are and that who they are matters. 

(I had the great pleasure of visiting with Mark on the Live Inspired podcast. He’s always been one of my favorite authors and speakers….and now he’s one of my favorite guests! Check it out here.)

My friends, it’s easy to get caught up counting our connections, likes, followers and friends. But our goal should be to nurture, deepen and strengthen relationships, not collect them. [Tweet this] | [Share on Facebook]

“Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard and valued.”

Today, whether you’re rolling into town on your Harley Davidson or hopping off the local bus: Remind others that they matter and the best is yet to come.

This is your day. Live Inspired.

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Comments
  • Jean Minton
    Reply

    I recently read John O’Leary’s book “On Fire.” It was incredibly inspiring! My sister Kathy Schlueter turned me on to him and shares his emails daily with all nine of our siblings as well as her six children and husband. Kathy saw him speak in Springfield, MO. She works for the Catholic school system there. She was deeply moved, and like each of us, has family and personal struggles. His talks have given her renewed energy and vitality as well as her relationship with God.

    I requested John O’Leary’s book from Pauline Books in Crestwood. A little nun placed the order, but mistakenly ordered Bishop Barron’s book. That book has a similar name. When I went to pick up the book, I explained it wasn’t the correct book. The little nun found one copy on a shelf. I loved every minute of the book!

    Thank you!

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