Connecting More Than Dots
Week after week after week we focus on the 4 Cornerstones: Move – Fuel – Rest – Connect. Enhance any of these 4 and you’ll not only improve your wellbeing (and life!) but you’ll also automate improvements across the other three. The first 3 and the steps forward tend to make inherent sense, but that last one – CONNECT – can be a confusing one. So let’s invest this week’s Catalyst Column on a practical example.
After 25 years in the same town, Suzanna & I moved to Fort Collins, Colorado in 2021. We love it – great move all around. However, creating new connections from scratch after 25 years living somewhere else isn’t as easy as discovering new running paths, date spots and grocery stores. It takes a purposeful, concerted effort. Maybe you’ve recently moved or made some lifestyle changes that created a similar “clean slate” situation – or maybe you’re tuning into the importance of connection and want to step things up on that front. Here are some of the steps I’ve been taking that might provide a nugget or two for your journey…
First – keep in mind the importance of both quantity (range of connection) and quality (depth of connection). The advantage of the clean slate is you get to paint your own picture, using any colors and brush styles you’d like. The natural path of connection for most focuses on a small group of similar thinking/living individuals who then solidify sameness (not necessarily in a good way) going forward. But we can do better if we choose. With the opportunity to start fresh, here are a few examples of the route I’ve been pursuing:
- Age: At 57, it’s natural to gravitate to those in the same phase of life. But optimal involves expanding in both directions. As a result, I’ve joined a track group of runners primarily in their 20’s & 30’s and stepped into some mentoring roles w/ students but also linked up with a wise group of retirees who can provide perspective beyond our years.
- Worldview: Faith and academia are seen by many as opposites. I’d disagree and appreciate perspectives and discussions coming from both. Thus, we’ve joined a thriving local church community and simultaneously tapped into a wide range of lectures at the university along w/ popping in as a guest speaker there and regular coffee huddles with various professors (obviously in addition to regular discussions w/ researchers and authors from around the globe on the Catalyst 360 podcast).
- Wildcards: While we know the pages turning on the calendar can’t be stopped, Suzanna and I are excited to GROW (and not simply “get”) older. That doesn’t happen without planting new seeds, both in terms of activities and new connections. For us, that has meant limiting TV/couch nights to a couple nights/week and instead seeking out unique experiences and connections through concerts, classes, double dates, local sporting events and more. Bonus tip – if the budget allows, pick up an extra game ticket occasionally and think about a few interesting people with whom you’d enjoy connecting. Even if schedules don’t align, the gesture often paves the way for future connections.
For those, like us, who lean towards introversion, here’s a valuable tip: Instead of defaulting to the usual “what do you do?” question in new groups, try asking, “What’s your story?” This unexpected inquiry allows individuals to take the conversation in any direction they desire, and they’ll remember you as the person who asked the most intriguing question of the night.
Move… Fuel… Rest… Connect. Achieving 360 degrees of well-being necessitates firmly establishing all four cornerstones. Connecting goes beyond merely joining the dots; it involves forging meaningful links that contribute to a richer, more fulfilling life.