Dear Leader Who Is Doing Life + Business On Her Own,
Last week, I had the honor of speaking to over 50 women at a local leadership luncheon where the theme was all about connections. As women, we have the power to change our communities when we connect with God, our purpose, and a supportive sisterhood to pursue our calling. Imagine the warm hugs, delightful giggles, and the life-giving conversations we had when we made the time to meet and mingle with like-minded ladies.
So here I was, speaking to the hearts of these women about connections, and all I could talk about was how lonely I’ve felt. Two years ago when I first moved back to Baltimore, I didn’t know a single soul AND I was starting a business in an industry I was new to. But I knew one thing -- meaningful relationships are the key to a healthy life and business. I shared my story of how I went from knowing no one to cultivating a community that I could do life and business with. After my talk, I connected with the women who resonated with feeling isolated and wanted more than anything to make those meaningful connections with people who care. That’s why I realized -- deep down, you crave connections -- with God, with your strengths, and with a trusted sisterhood.
In this week’s letter, I wanted to share what it really takes to build meaningful connections. The relationships that truly matter are the ones where you can be your most genuine self, and that takes courage to show up to be fully you.
Why Making Connections Can Feel Uncomfortable
First, let’s talk about why building relationships can feel uncomfortable.
The small talk. Trying to remember people’s names. Wondering if I should follow up with this person, or let it go. Knowing what to share and what not to share.
Whenever you initiate a relationship, invite someone to coffee or to work with you, share a story or express an opinion that’s deeply personal, you risk rejection. When you put yourself out there, there’s a chance that people may say no to your invite or disagree with your thoughts. And that’s okay. Leaders are people who are willing to go into the unknown and challenge themselves to grow. Let’s be real -- building relationships can feel uncomfortable at first but you learn to embrace it until you feel more established and secure with your network of support.
There’s also a bit of vulnerability involved when you ask for help, show people you care, and open up your thoughts and feelings to let someone in.
Ways You Can Make Connections Feel More Comfortable
Anything worth having is worth working towards -- including making meaningful connections. Depending on your personality style and preferences, there are many ways you can create them on your own terms. Here’s are some principles and suggestions to help you.
1. Connect with generosity.
Meaningful relationships are ones based on value. I know there’s a lot of talk about VALUE in the online space, but you don’t need to overthink it.
Think to yourself: What are you GIVING to the relationship? What’s a simple way to share my knowledge, expertise, time, and resources?
Giving someone your undivided attention and truly listening is generous.
Remembering their birthday and writing a thoughtful card is generous.
Surprising your clients with a bonus gift is generous.
Offering to bring snacks to the local meet-up is generous.
Introducing two people who can work together is generous.
Remember: The more we give, the more opportunities we create to be able to connect with people who share our values. Leaders are always thinking about ways to add value to people’s lives.
2. Connect with intentionality.
Intentionality is the act of making relationships a priority and infusing thoughtfulness and care into everything you do. It also means showing up in the good times and the bad.
Ask yourself: How can I show someone I care? What’s a fun way to thoughtfully follow up with someone, or spend time with them?
Setting aside time on Friday afternoons for coffee dates is intentional.
Texting a friend who’s going through a hard time is intentional.
Offering your community access to you without any expectations is intentional.
Letting go of friends and clients who do more harm than good is intentional.
Inviting qualified prospects to work with you is intentional.
Remember: As John Maxwell says, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
3. Connect with vulnerability.
Two of the most powerful words are, “Me too!” When you can express empathy and understanding of what someone else is going through (or bond with someone who gets you), that’s where the magic happens.
Vulnerability doesn’t have to mean airing all of your dirty laundry. Vulnerability means leading by showing you’re human so that you give other people permission to be themselves.
Ask yourself: What are important values of mine that I want to share? How can I express empathy to someone?
Sharing your best practices, personal stories and leadership lessons is vulnerable.
Asking influencers to endorse your work is vulnerable.
Getting clear on what you want, so you can ask for what you need is vulnerable.
Speaking your mind and standing up for what you believe is vulnerable.
Asking for forgiveness and correcting mistakes is vulnerable.
Remember: some people will like you and some people won’t, but life is short so be YOU!
Connections are truly important in a thriving life and business. Because at the end of the day, it’s the PEOPLE that matter. It’s people that we can connect with, serve wholeheartedly, and impact to truly make a difference.
That’s why I’m excited to collaborate with Jenna Shriver (wedding/portrait photographer + creative business mentor) to bring you a NEW 3-month leadership program, all about the POWER of connections. We've combined our expertises and experiences to help 10 creative, heart-centered women (like you!) grow your faith AND grow your business. This includes in-person workshops (in Westminster, MD) with an online community.
Sign up below to join our wait list! You'll be the first to get all the details when enrollment opens!