Build Networks

Connections – Are You Building Strong Links?

Dublin, Ireland – Photo: Sandy SQ

It is just after 10pm. I am up in the sky. The seat belt sign is still switched on. A mix of muffled voices and the buzzing engine make me sleepy. Looking out the window into a dark sky I notice the well-lit networks of streets, houses, offices – the life that continues while I am observing from above. My mind is looking for connections, trying to categorise what I see. A circuit board maybe, a pulsing cell, the helicopter view, or perhaps just a city that I have left tonight.

I love airplanes. Maybe because of their ability to take off and stay way up in the air or because of the sheer amazement when realising that I am indeed somewhere above the clouds. Being up in the air could mean anything, new possibilities, rethinking the day or preparing for it, being open to look from above or sometimes getting to know the person next to me – all potential opportunities for new connections, of places, with people or just in my brain.

Meeting Dr. Martyn Newman, IMI, Dublin 09/10/2019

Connections help us reaching destinations literally by getting from one place to another or metaphorically speaking by using behavioural paths well travelled. If we want to reach new destinations or working on realising a dream we need to let go of some of these habitual ways of thinking and form new connections.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a masterclass on the topic of emotional intelligence for leadership in the Irish Management Institute (IMI). There were maybe a hundred people present, yet I connected only with a few attendees. While I was waiting to talk to the speaker, Dr. Martyn Newman I got to chat with John. I told him about my determination to ask a question to the speaker of each event that I was attending. John Broderick found that very interesting because him going to speak to Martyn after a lecture many years ago turned out to be the start of their highly successful business partnership RocheMartin. Connections are often well established just like any flight connections. To establish new ones however, there is a potential of infinite opportunities with us being aware of only a few of them or none at all.

Having too many choices could make decisions difficult. If we don’t have a burning desire or a pressing need the chances are that a vast amount of options lead us to do nothing. The same happens with connections. If we don’t have a reason for making new connections we are unlikely to build them. This holds also true for flight connections, if there is not enough demand to have a profitable schedule between two airports it is unlikely the connections will be established or if tried, remain active. There needs to be a creation and maintenance of value for all involved for a connection to be established. This holds true for human connections, too.

Photo: Sandy SQ

John and I did connect founded on a common interest that we would like to continue to chat about. Whether this will turn out to become an established connections is up to both of us. Over the past years, I have met many people and with a few of them I felt an instant connection. Often there were initial messages exchanged on the social media platform we linked up with. The reality is that this first instant feeling of getting each other is often not enough to build a meaningful relationship. Just like my flight this evening that I have travelled so many times, a deeper connection is only build with frequent engagement. Roads well travelled are prove connections between towns and by now we all have red many times that new habits are only established by frequently repeating the same behaviour. And for reaching bigger goals, persistence and consistency are common buzz words in this context.

While I am nearing my destination tonight, I have made a new connection in my mind. And I am feeling excited about this insight, that an initial chat no matter how meaningful it may be may turn out to be nothing more than a potential for a new connection and that there is a lot more needed to build a strong link upon such first spark.

I am interested to find out what your experiences are with new connections? Leave a comment below.

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