Last week I talked about why we go to networking events and explained that the only reason to go is to meet like-minded and like-hearted people, members of our tribe. That sounds pretty straight forward, but is it really? Over the years I've done dozens of personal assessments and values exercises, attended hundreds of workshops, had thousands of conversations with anyone and everyone to try to figure out who I am. In many ways I've just begun this journey that started 53 years ago. The more I dig into who I am the easier it is to find the other members of my tribe.
In my most recent book, Success Redefined, I talk about a concept that I call the Connectedness Continuum. This concept is centered on the idea that their are 5 levels of connection in our society. The first level of connection is what I termed Surface level connections. These are our "friends" on Facebook or "connections" on LinkedIn. These are people that we might know by name, but we don't really know them at all. The second level of connection is called Community based connectedness, or those people that have something in common with us. These are people that have a shared hobby or are part of a religious organization or are part of a sports team. The third level of connection is called Relationship based connection, or a one-to-one relationship with another person. This can be a family member, a friend, a business associate or anyone else that you have a personal relationship with.
The next level of connection is the most critical one, the relationship with ourselves. When we know ourselves we are so much better in our relationships and in the community. Beyond self, and the inner core of the continuum is the fifth and final level, our Purpose. Some people might call this our why, our reason for being. Once we begin to know self we can start to figure out our own individual why, but we can't do that without first understanding our self.
I have searched for the past few decades to find myself and my why, and the more I search the closer I get. I'm not sure I'm "there" yet, but the more I learn the more peace I find in each day. The more peace I find the easier it is to show up in the world as myself, not the person that I believe others want me to be, or need me to be. I tried that one for many years and it didn't bring much pleasure or satisfaction. So, for me the search for self is at the core of everything that I do, it's the heart of the Connectedness Continuum and something that I believe is critical for our own journey toward happiness and joy. This is why I meditate, why I spend time with those with more wisdom and peace than I have. I continue to seek and with this search comes more clarity each day. I wish I could bottle the past 53 years of my journey and hand it to others so they don't have to live through the same pains that I did (especially our two teenage children). If I did, I'd be stealing their life from them because life is what happens in the ordinary moments. It's about the journey of self exploration and learning our own unique lessons.
So, wherever you are on the journey, I hope that you continue to search for self. The more more we know about what makes us tick, the more we understand what brings us joy and happiness the better we are for everyone. For me, this journey is just beginning and I look forward to using my gifts to help others reach their dreams. My greatest gift is my deep desire and ability to connect people with those that they need to meet. I don't know why I have this skill or why it's so much a part of who I am, but it is who I am. In the end, if we help others get what they want we'll get so much more than we will ever need.