Authentic Relationships. Does it really matter?
As a career coach and LinkedIn trainer, I coach job seekers and those progressing in their careers to expand their network and connect with people.
I encourage them to find mentors who share their values; to ask for guidance and advice from those they know, like and trust. I encourage my clients to build genuine relationships.
Much has been written about the importance of relationship building when it comes to developing and expanding your network as a job seeker. Even more has been written about the importance of connecting and relationship development in business marketing.
Why do we struggle with genuine networking?
And yet, why is it that so many people struggle with this human side of networking and making connections?
Is it because we are afraid to reach out? And if that is so, why are we afraid?
Human beings thrive on being part of a community. And in recent times, because of the power of ‘connectivity’ in a digital sense, we are technically more connected with access to so much information at our fingertips.
But this is becoming a problem. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds bombard us constantly screaming ‘read me, watch me, look at me!’
Many of us feel personally less connected and feel more isolated in real life than ever before.
Do we need a digital detox?
About 4 years ago, one of my daughters told me that she needed a digital detox as she was starting to feel anxiety from seeing all the things that some of her friends were posting on Instagram and Facebook.
Even though she knew that many of the posts had been carefully curated to only post the positive, and avoid the mundane, she found herself comparing her life to theirs and feeling isolated even though she wasn’t.
The good thing about the digital detox was that she met up with more friends in person, spoke to more people on the phone and via FaceTime or Skype and had real conversations rather than using a keyboard or mobile device.
That boosted her sense of authenticity in her friendships, and community spirit. It was a good lesson for me too, as I also spend far too much time using digital media. I excuse myself by saying it’s because I’m ‘marketing’ my business – but that’s another story!
Frances Moore Lappé, Author of You Have the Power: Choosing Courage in a Culture of Fear and Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want, said,
“Community — meaning for me “nurturing human connection” — is our survival. We humans wither outside of community. It isn’t a luxury, a nice thing; community is essential to our well being.”
Reaching out to make a genuine connection
To boost connection to my community I reach out to those who have inspired me.
I like to expand my community to include like-minded professionals and people who share my desire to make authentic connections and to make a difference in the lives of others.
I leverage the power of my digital connections and expand upon those connections to create genuine connections in real life. And the magic that happens when we meet face to face is amazing!
Hannah Martin – Talented Ladies Club
Here’s a short video of what happened when I caught up, in person, with Hannah Martin, Founder of Talented Ladies Club, based in Worthing in the UK.
We met on Twitter 5 years ago – through a tweet about Bondi Beach while I was doing the Bondi to Bronte walk with my daughters one sunny afternoon.
Our tweet turned into a number of exchanges and we found we had Asia in common (we both lived and worked around the region in the past) and we both are coaches.
This lead to Hannah reviewing my book, Navigating Career Crossroads, an Amazon bestseller, on her website, me interviewing Hannah on my podcast, Your Career, (via a Zoom meeting) and a firm friendship and working relationship has developed since then.
We share the value of abundance – a love of community and collaboration.
Here’s what we chatted about after a lovely Dim Sum lunch in Worthing:
When meeting face to face we are able to gain a full experience of the essence of a person.
We learn what it’s like to be in their presence. And we experience the way they communicate – verbally and non-verbally.
We listen. Then we gauge what’s being said and what’s NOT being said. Sometimes we smile, we nod, and we may raise an eyebrow, frown, laugh and even cry. We connect. That, to me, is what life is all about.
Linda Hill – Linda Hill Recruitment
I met Linda Hill, founder of Linda Hill Recruitment, through a Facebook community group of like-minded business professionals a few years ago. Even though I’m based in Sydney and Linda is based in Richmond in the UK, Linda offered to meet up during a trip I took to London 2 years ago and we immediately hit it off.
From a casual chat over tea and scones in a lovely English teahouse, to visiting her Beauty Therapy Recruitment office in Richmond and then interviewing her twice on Your Career podcast, we have found much synergy and opportunities to collaborate.
In May this year we met up again and talked about the power of community and collaboration. And she interviewed me on HER podcast this time too!
When taking ‘online’ connections ‘offline’ we become friends, and if we do business together because we know, like and trust each other, that is a bonus.
Jillian Bullock – #LinkedInLocalSydney
We enable professionals who are connected on LinkedIn in Sydney to meet face to face during our monthly events. The magic always happens when we bring people together.
What we’ve found is that we are building a wonderful community of people in Sydney who simply want to meet up and connect without the sales and pitch aspect that so often comes with other networking events.
In this quick video Jillian and I talk about how we took our ‘online’ connection ‘offline’ and look at how far we’ve come!
#LinkedInLocal has become a huge phenomenon globally and I believe this reflects the strong desire so many of us feel to make a genuine connection and touch each others’ lives.
Alexandra (Authentic Alex) Galviz – #LinkedinLocal
During my recent UK trip I was fortunate to meet up with one of the founders of this amazing movement, Alexandra Galviz, over a couple of glasses of champagne at the Rooftop Bar of The Trafalgar @ St James.
Alex explains what #LinkedInLocal and making genuine connections is all about here:
And finally, as a career coach, I enjoy connecting with other career coaches because I advocate an abundance mentality rather than a scarcity mentality when it comes to business.
As coaches we are here to serve the people who need us and the more people we help the better.
Simon Scantlebury – Executive Coach
Simon Scantlebury has followed my LinkedIn posts for a number of years and we’d corresponded via LinkedIn messaging for a while as we coach our clients through career transition.
Simon noticed one of my posts that mentioned I was travelling to the UK and he offered to meet up to learn more about how I market my business. As Salisbury was on my agenda for my trip, we caught up at the Mercure White Hart for a chat and this video is the outcome:
People connecting with people. Forming authentic relationships. Creating a community of professionals, helping each other to help others. Here is where the magic happens.
I’d love to hear your connection and community stories. Please share them in the comments below and let’s get to know each other!
I’ll conclude my post with this quote from Shirley Suet-ling Tang, Assistant Professor, Asian-American Studies & American Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston (UMASS)
“So, why is community important? Because community saves us from the isolation and alienation we fear… Because community is about finding each other and a place we can call home… By building community we put some order in the fragmented world.”
Sending much warmth and wishing you happiness always,
Reference: What is Community and Why is it Important? https://www.ikedacenter.org/thinkers-themes/themes/community/what-is-community-responses
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