If we learned anything from “Social Distancing” it is that we really need people. But not all relationships are the same. There are a lot of useless connections in our business and personal lives that do not lead to mutually beneficial engagements. Too often we have superficial and mundane interactions with people. These common connections are fine, if they are not negative…. but the real magic happens when you have those special people in your life where you are both better off because of that relationship. “Uncommon Connections” are those positive contacts who together you both thrive.
What are Uncommon Connections?
Uncommon connections are those human relationship where everyone in the engagement find more opportunity, and forever have each others back. Too often we have friendships with people who pull us down, are takers, or otherwise drain our soul. Sadly, these are far too common. Over the past decade, the explosion of social media and “influencers” have left many of us feeling cold in the human engagements we do have.
A like, link, share, or follow is not usually a powerful relationship. They are surface level connections and studies are showing this digital life is leaving many people feeling “less than”. Watching fake gurus proclaim their advice and host their “communities” that are designed to make the guru money, while they do not live by the messages they teach are becoming common and painful (a recent New York Times article on an Austin, TX “celebrity”, who I once met and who was rude and cold, while claiming to be some leader of human success, was a reminder that we do not really know these influencers and never will).
An uncommon connection is when you really click and form a friendship with the intent of all involved sharing to help each other discover their highest levels of success.
Appreciate the Uncommon Connections
I have been fortunate. I have had many people come through my life who have had a positive impact. I am still friends with people with whom I went to kindergarten and high school. My college friends, 35 years later, are still in my inner circle. And since becoming a professional speaker, I have been blessed with several relationships that are always mutually beneficial. I am thankful of all these souls who are part of my life. Part of what I am trying to teach others is to celebrate the power of human engagement when you see it working.
I have often called these people “Forever Friends”, as in good and bad, they always have your back. They step up when times get tough, and they always are behind you as you climb the crap mountains that eventually appear. These “Forever Friends” are uncommon. Some people tell me they have never had a relationship like this.
Beware of Fake Friends
The other side of this is sometimes you have people in your life who you think are amazing friends who you later discover are just common users who are passing through. They take and rarely give. When they do they have strings attached or they are keeping score. I have only had three people in my life who fooled me with their bullshit facades of false friendship. I made assumptions about their being uncommon connections, but eventually the asshats have to show their true colors. Along the way I watched them gossip and undermine other people, and did not believe I would end up on their list of people they tossed aside. Boom. Then it happened.
But forgive fake friends, as they often fool themselves. After the relationship ends they will tell everyone it was all about you, and even craft stories of how you were the one doing things that stopped they friendship. The “needed” to pull away because of your actions (which are often not even factual). I have chosen, in these cases, to accept that there are two people in every relationship, and I accept my part in the ending of the connection. Then I forgive them. Instead of undermining them to any mutual friends, I say “it is unfortunate what happened, and I cherish the good times”.
Make the Uncommon…Common
As I get older, and work to make age 50 to 75 the best years of my life, I am seeking to create more “Uncommon Connections”. My goal is to make these types of friendship the norm. I am looking for people who embrace serving, are rooted deeply in trust, and who want to be part of mutually beneficial conversations on a regular basis.
To do this I am having to change myself, too. My 18 month journey of meditation, forgiveness, and self discovery has shown my where I have come up short in my side of connections. My former addiction to self identifying as my career had limitations on many parts of my soul. But people can change, and I am living my own metamorphosis.
My personal mission in the last year has been to talk to one smart person everyday. This has lead me to review so many things. I appreciate how different people embrace creativity in life, work, and self. These people challenge me to be more uncommon (and make the uncommon common).
Please share with me your thoughts.
Learn more about my program “The Trusted Networker”