Worthy, Wanted and Part of the Greater Whole
Do you remember this game? Remember laughing with your friends and classmates as you pulled one hand out and slapped it on the top of the pile? Laughing and giggling, when others did the same.
We were so happy playing this game? Do you know why? It was because you and the kids you were playing with were connected. That connection made you happy, laugh and feel that you belonged to something that you were all creating together. You felt worthy, wanted and part of the greater whole.
Human Response to Connection
I just read an article that said, as humans we seek connection. We seek connection, because when we truly connect we feel heard, loved, and seen. When it comes down to a chemical level, when we connect we release the hormone, Oxytocin. Oxytocin makes us feel calm, peaceful, joyful, content, euphoric and happy. It’s released when we breastfeed or have sex. It’s our body’s natural response to connection.
Connection and the U.S. Election
Crazy segway, but this understanding of connection brings me back to the recent U.S. Presidential Election. Yes, we are going back there. However, I have come to understand how the election ties into this understanding of connection. I felt so blindsided by the results that for months I felt I was kicked in the gut. My first thoughts revolved around the question, ‘How could this happen?’. My following thoughts revolved around, ‘Why did this happen?’. So many people had their thoughts and theories on the matter. I finally came down to a simple conclusion. The election results came down to connection, more specifically, the lack of connection.
Circling back to the childhood game at the opening of this article, a good number of people that voted for President Trump felt like a kid on the sidelines, watching the game and missing out on the fun for years, if not decades. Just like any kid that is left out of the fun, they were left feeling unwanted, ignored and disconnected from the greater whole. These voters never recovered from the economic meltdown in 2009. Financially struggling as a result of loss of industry and jobs being sent abroad, these voters were left behind, as the educated, the financially privileged and socially mobile, recovered, moved ahead and gained ground. Due to the lack of prosperity and access to opportunity, members of these communities wanted and needed a drastic departure from the political status quo. Boy did they get it! Investigating the WHY instead of the HOW, I understood what the lack of connection to the greater whole can lead to.
I have heard all types of arguments on next steps. Honestly, I think our country’s prosperity and growth and that of our global community hinges on the facilitation of connection, between groups, communities, political parties and so on. The question remains, how this will be done. I’ve been married nearly 20 years (19 years in November 2017 to be exact, but why not round up), in my experience when it comes to arguments with the hubby, I have found it best to stop talking and listen. Now, I am not always the best at this. He could tell you that! ;-) When I listen, I can connect to him and meet him where he is at in that moment. I do the same with my twelve year old son, or at least I try to, when I have the emotional bandwidth to rebound back from the tween, nearly teen, angst. It works! Resolutions present themselves or we surrender to disagree. In the end, we are heard and can move on more productively and happily. Honestly, this is what we need to do as a country.
How does this translate to the workplace?
Within our immediate work environment, connecting with our colleagues, subordinates, and superiors by listening more and talking less, leaves the space for productive dialogue and effective action. More importantly, efficient communication leaves all parties on the same page and validated as recognized contributors with a surplus of energy and motivation to take on another task and successfully reach another goal. If your company or organization is not hitting their goals in a way that you would expect or you just feel there is always room for improvement, I would look at how the employees are connecting and communicating first, before anything else. Observe meetings, sit in on conference calls, follow-up on complaints and concerns, and just simply check-in! When I say check-in, really check-in! Take time to know your team and build trust. With trust, you will have the access you need to successfully nip more issues in the bud.
We can’t stay children forever. Children can be loving, sweet and compassionate. Children can also be mean and exclude others to serve their interests. With a better understanding, I bet those mean children are not feeling heard, loved, valued and safe in another setting. Such an understanding could have brought some much needed perspective in my childhood, when I cried and struggled over being bullied. However, we are not children. We are not playing a game. It is time to grow up! It is time that we gave true connection its due, whether it is in the board room, on the Senate floor, the bedroom or in the supermarket check-out line. Connection is the only way forward. Connection is the only way we will grow and prosper, as an organization, as a business, as a family, as a country and as a global community. It is that simple!
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