We Are Wired For Connection
6 Ways to Build Meaningful Relationships
is not something you do alone. People who live epic know how to be happy, they know the key to happiness rests on healthy relationship building and achieving a deep sense of belonging within a trusted community.
There is an epidemic at large in society…
that threatens more than 40% of the population. Its impact on our health is equal to smoking. It is worse than obesity. It puts us at greater risk of heart disease, dementia, depression and anxiety. It inhibits our task performance, creativity, sound reasoning, decision making and willingness to be vulnerable and trusting. Untreated, it is exhausting. The bottom line, it reduces our lifespan by leading to premature death, if not suicide. This epidemic derails our ability to live and work EPIC.
The epidemic is loneliness.
Our society is sick. People at large are struggling with loneliness and depression and feeling increasingly isolated and alone. Look around, fewer people are marrying, divorces are rising, addictions are up. Required isolation, work from home and virtual connection is the new norm. And, the economy is struggling. Just a few years ago, when people were asked how many deeply meaningful relationship they had, the majority responded, zero! People are lonely.
Our sense of community is eroding and we need to fix it. Loneliness is contrary to how we are wired. We’re wired for connection and belonging. You can’t do this alone.
If you want to know how to deal with loneliness, don’t be fooled by deceptive confabulations telling you it’s safer to do life alone. Don’t be guided by conspiracy theories claiming that no one has your back and most people are selfish and out for themselves. And do not buy into bullshit beliefs suggesting that asking for support is selfish, weak, vulnerable or dependent.
The key to thriving in life and work is…
developing and investing in meaningful relationships. The depth and quality of your relationships not only adds to your longevity but it is the single most significant factor for improving the quality of your life. According to Robert Waldinger, director of a 75-year Harvard Study of Adult Development, the biggest key to happiness and fulfillment in life is love. Specifically, the study demonstrates that having someone to rely on helps your nervous system relax, helps your brain stay healthier for longer, grows optimism and reduces both emotional as well as physical pain. But wait, there’s even more good news.
People with relational depth and breadth make more money. Successful people will work with you, hire you and pay you because of how connected they feel to you. Money is born of relationships. When you have a choice, whether you run your own business or work in sales, administration, education, finance, healthcare or service of any kind, you’re more likely to do business and buy from people you like, people you are connected with.
These 6 strategies ahead will help you double down on how to meet new people, how to build healthy relationships, how to overcome loneliness and help you grow your income and advance your career opportunities.
Another piece of good news is…
people with relational depth and breadth are more resilient. Adversity is a given in life and work. Tragedy is difficult, if not impossible to avoid. People die, people get sick, people lose jobs and people will betray you. You’re more likely to rise strong through it all when you have a strong source of relational support to help you through the challenging times.
The proof is powerful. Meaningful relationships are key to living and working EPIC. So where are you? Are you ready to expand the breadth and depth of your relationships? Do you know how to meet new people? Do you want to grow your tribe to enrich your social and relational network? If the answer is yes, then break up your routine, take control of your schedule and reboot life-as-usual. How? Attend events, join clubs, join interest groups, even if it’s virtual. Re-engage in old hobbies, try new hobbies, explore new things and by all means, re-connect with friends who have drifted.
As part of our upcoming online Crush Fear course, you’ll be equipped with the tools you need to combat loneliness and overcome doubt to help you thrive as you expand the breadth and depth of your relationships.
1. Dare to Open Up
You are as sick as your secrets. Deep and meaningful relationships grow out of truth and authenticity. If you harbor secrets, you mask, armor and take on facades. Hiding secrets is exhausting and debilitating and will not allow you to be fully present. Coming clean is a journey and needs to happen under the guidance of trained professionals.
If you are hanging on to secrets we highly advise you to seek both spiritual and professional help to heal your wounds. When you dare to name and share your secrets with trusted others, you’ll discover your secrets have far less control over you and your life. You’ll be able to rebuild your life story and have the integrity and confidence to engage in relationships characterized by more freedom and authenticity. A faith-based approach to self-improvement may also offer a helpful kickstart to your healing journey.
2. Grow your self-awareness
You are as functional as you are self-aware. When you understand your identity and grow your self-awareness you know what it will take to thrive. The Enneagram is a valuable tool for knowing and growing your personal, relational and social well-being. When you have greater agency and awareness of the core motivators behind your thinking, feelings and behaviors, you’ll know what it takes to become a better version of yourself. This, in turn, will enable you to build and grow more meaningful relationships.
3. Be Courageous
Reach out, even though it feels risky, vulnerable and it exposes you. Don’t overthink it, just do it! People are busy. If you want to connect, share your interest in connecting and suggest a plan for getting together. Leading your life with courage is how you live your values, grow trust and step through fear.
“You can’t have meaningful relationships unless you are willing to be vunerable.”
4. Be Curious
Curiosity drives our quest for knowledge, culture, novelty, experience, beauty, art and connection. Curiosity inspires the stories, memories, accomplishments and relationships that enrich our lives. People who exhibit selfless curiosity have an open mind, they listen, absorb, explore, understand and empathize. Curious people show deep interest in the lives of others by asking a lot of questions, listening with interest, listening to remember and by practicing gratitude.
5. Be authentic
Your personal story is a powerful means of connection. So, don’t be shy. Be willing to share your story, dare to be seen. Put yourself out there and be real–no posing, no masks, no facades. Show up with a spirit of generosity. Withhold judgment and assume people are doing the best with what they have. Authentic people are simply more attractive and compelling to be around.
6. Be Humble
Humble people are far more interested in being learners and getting it right and far less interested in knowing it all and being right. Humility is about connecting with a spirit of curiosity and openness, not ego and arrogance. Humility levels the relationship by sharing power with people, not power over them. Humility stomps on ignorance, cultivates grace and fuels deeper connection and true belonging.
The quality of your life and work are at stake. What relational quality or qualities described above do you need to develop to thrive at work and in life?
These relational qualities have the power to be transforming. Yet, deeply meaningful relationships are just one of six important life dimensions we all want to excel at, but insecurities, resignation and fear of hurt and rejection can get in our way.
“Humility levels the relationship by sharing power with people, not power over them.”
Grow Resilience | Do Brave Work | Lead & Live EPIC
Meaningful Relationships is one of 6 life dimensions we explore in our new online course BE RESILIENT. We’ll guide you through 8 life-changing modules designed to help you thrive in work and in life.
Enneagram: A tool for gaining a deeper level of self-awareness
Ian Morgan Cron, author, speaker, therapist and podcast host
The Brain-Based Enneagram: You are not A number, Dr. Jerome Lubbe
Love and War, John and Stasi Eldredge
“A Guide to Leading UP in a Down Economy”, Jackie and Kevin Freiberg
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work John Gottman
Living a Life That Matters, Harold Kushner
Be A Person Of Impact, Jackie and Kevin Freiberg
BOOM!, Kevin and Jackie Freiberg
Are You Fully Charged?, Tom Rath