Archive for the ‘Gift of Connection Project’ Category

It’s an understatement that the US has just experienced one of the most divisive political seasons in modern history. Unlike those people who weren’t looking forward to discussing politics over Thanksgiving dinner, I encouraged the discussion. The reason is because now that the election is over, even if you’re passionate about your candidate, we all need to learn to understand a different point of view that you may not agree with and start the healing process.

Banning people from Thanksgiving because they supported a different candidate is not only causing problems in families but will only continue to cause the country to be so divided that we can’t make any progress as a country. Putting aside our differences, learning to be tolerant and work together on the issues we can agree on for the good of the country is the only way we can become better as a nation.

Instead of arguing over political positions, it might be more productive to ask the opposite side to explain the reason they have a certain position and not judge them, then see if there’s any common ground in some area you can agree on, if not on that particular issue than another issue. Hopefully you’ll be surprised that you have more in common than you initially expected.

Even though Washington is broken and can’t work together, we don’t have to follow their lead. It’s important as Americans that we get this right to make things better for all of us and show our children that are watching that we can put our differences aside and work together for the common good of our communities.

One of the first questions we ask a person after meeting them is, “What do you do?” The reason this question is so important is because our culture places value on people based on their profession. People put so much emphasis on their career, that if they become unemployed, they feel as though they lack an identity.

Here’s the problem with making judgements about a person’s status or value based on their profession. We can miss out on where that person is headed or the potential they have. A janitor could aspire to start their own janitorial business or be a talented artist that’s working a job until their art is able to bring in a consistent income. We could miss out on a diamond in the rough.

Instead, a better question is what’s something you’re working on that you’re passionate about? By asking this question, you can learn more interesting parts of a person’s story and what they’re really about. I have a friend that does billing for healthcare companies but on the side she’s an entrepreneur that aspires to get a product sold in stores. When I met her, I asked her this question and she told me about her product. I loved the idea so much that I offered to help her figure out how to launch her product.

If I had asked her what’s your profession, she probably would have told me that she works in medical billing and most likely that would have been the end of the conversation. Both of us would have missed out on what we have in common and how we could help each other.

I challenge you the next time you’re networking or meeting someone new, ask them what’s something you’re working on that you’re passionate about? It will probably be a more interesting conversation and you never know, a connection could come out of it.

So what happens when you gave your goals your best shot but nothing much has changed? I personally have been going through a period of stagnation and have learned how to deal with it from a healthy perspective.

Last year I did everything possible to advance The Connect with Your Calling Project. I was able to help a few people get connections to advance their careers and I’m grateful that some are making progress. With one client in particular we went through the casting process for 2 national TV shows and almost got selected both times but then towards the end we were cut. Needless to say this was an emotionally draining process and very disappointing.

We haven’t given up and decided to keep moving forward but we’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way. I’ve made a conscious decision that I’m not going to let my happiness be dependent on whether or not we achieve our goal. I’ll be thrilled to help my client get her product on national TV but the outcome is not under my control. I’ve decided to be content regardless of the outcome to maintain my peace and happiness.

Going after your dreams is a bruising process so here are a few suggestions that came from an article written by Bishop Joseph W. Walker III.

  1. Find contentment. When you know you’ve done your best and given your all, you can live with no regrets.
  2. Begin with the end in mind. Visualize where you want to be this time next year and come up with a strategy with small measurable steps.
  3. Set realistic goals. Don’t overdo it. Recognize that you are only one person and it’s better to do a few things well than do many things horribly.
  4. Be intentional about prioritizing. Failure to do so may lead to unnecessary compromises that may set you back.
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

I’ve decided to address a situation that I’m currently helping a client deal with that happens to everyone at some point during their professional career. What do you do when you make a mistake or drop the ball at work? It’s unreasonable to have the expectation that you’re on your A game 100% of the time, so when these things happen, you need to already know how to handle it in a way that it doesn’t permanently damage your career.

I’m going to use the recent mistake that Steve Harvey made announcing the winner of Miss Universe 2015 as an example.

  1. Take complete responsibility for the mistake. (Don’t come up with excuses) Acknowledge what went wrong and explain why it won’t happen again.
  2. Apologize. Let the person know that you understand how your actions affected them and have a genuine remorse about the situation.
  3. If possible try to rectify the situation. If there’s some action you can take to make the situation better, than you should do your best to fix it. The offended party is more likely to forgive if they see actions over just hearing the words I’m sorry.

If Steve wants to rectify the situation publicly, he could have her come on his talk show, apologize to her and find a way to assist her in accomplishing some of the things she would have done as Miss Universe. There are usually some creative ways to fix the problem that may turn out to be a blessing for them and you.

FINAL

I started this blog after reading an article in O magazine about the #JustSayHello campaign, which discussed how making meaningful connections can increase a person’s quality of life and mental health. The overall purpose of the Connect with your Calling blog is to help it’s readers learn how to make the specific connections they need to achieve a big dream. Also, to find people that I could coach through the process of finding the missing link to fulfill their potential.

I held a Twitter contest with the women’s empowerment organization, I Know Somebody Houston in October of 2014 to give away tickets to Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend event in Houston, TX. I did this in the hopes of meeting people that I could help find connections to achieve their life’s purpose. At the Oprah event, I met the first place winner Tracie Jae and the second place winner Rhonda Wheeler.

I’ve been working closely with Rhonda Wheeler, the owner of a dessert catering company that specializes in creating eye-catching candy buffet tables, and personalized candy bouquets. Her dreams are to expand her business with retail stores by incorporating candy decor into retail storefront window displays and to launch a product line of DIY (Do it Yourself) Candy Buffet Catering Kits that gives the customer all the supplies they need to create their own beautifully decorated candy buffet table for a variety of small events. These dreams were inspired by Dana Tanamachi, who has incorporated chalk art into elegant retail storefront window displays and has product lines with her chalk art designs.

I’m so excited because the first goal is starting to happen. The fashion retail store Lavo Collections in Sugarland, TX is featuring #Fashion Candy line in their storefront window display from April 26-May 10, 2015.

We’re still working on the second dream. She’s currently in talks with a retail chain to carry her product line of DIY Candy Buffet Catering Kits. I’ve received such fulfillment guiding Rhonda through the process of making strategic connections that can help her achieve her dreams. And to think all of this started because I was willing to #JustSayHello to someone I met at an Oprah event and come together to create something that’s meaningful to us.

I would like to discuss how crowdsourcing can be used in everyday life. Your network can be used to solve a spectrum of issues in addition to your career needs. So I would like to give you some examples of how to effectively crowdsource some of your goals.

Let’s start off with career, I would like to share a story given to me by career coach, Terrence Devlin. An engineering company that was a large employer in the area went out of business so there was a saturation of engineers looking for work in that particular market. In a case where there’s a lot of competition, you have to get more creative in your job search. Terrence advised his clients to meet face-to-face with people in their network, hand them a copy of their resume and ask them if they knew of anyone that may be looking to hire someone with their particular job skills. In most cases, the person did have at least one lead for an engineering connection in their network to give them. Using Linkedin, the person could research their professional network pretty easily. The reason he suggested a face-to-face meeting is because people are more likely to help you when you express a need in person as apposed to over the phone or email.

This same approach can be used in a variety of ways. If you’re looking to lose weight or another common goal, ask people in your network if they know of another person that’s also looking to do the same thing (for instance lose weight) so you can support each other or if they know of an expert that can provide their services to give you the tools you need. This technique has proven to effective because when you get referrals from your network, they come from a trusted source, therefore they’re more likely to produce results. Also, asking them in person puts a immediate need in front of them while you have their undivided attention.

In my last post, I discussed one of my top strengths, connectedness. The application of connectedness is that I’m constantly seeing how people and events are related and that I enjoy doing activities with others. Knowing your top strengths can give you a better awareness of how to best contribute to a team and personal relationships.

At times we can get caught up in our own world because we’re distracted and not be particularly concerned about what happens to other people. Living in the present moment instead of being distracted in the presence of others allows us to be available to connect and identify with people that are experiencing similar situations to our own. If we pay attention, everyday there are lessons being revealed to us in the world by situations we observe, hear about, experience, and read.

If we do not pay attention to the subtle things that are happening directly around us daily, it is easy to ignore the solutions that we are actually looking for. My challenge to you this year is to be fully present with others around you and to make more of an effort during conversations to see if you can connect in areas of your life that you need support and solutions. You may discover the answer that can empower you in a certain area was right under your nose.