We are all connected. We mostly know that.
Do we also realize that who we hang with affects our moods, what we think about as valid, it shows up in our decisions, and it affects what we create? Maybe.
It’s a good read for the business/management crowd. Really. Check it out. But it wasn’t to begin with.
You see, Sarah Green first proposed joining the HBR community, before the holidays and by the time I started to write, I had lost the full idea thread. Then, I started to think this is for Haaaarvard and HBR, the epitome of management publications. Which led me, quite predictably, to freeze up. And then I started to write muddier and muddier content. It was pure gunk (that’s a scientific term, by my book) by the time Sarah checked in. And rather than b.s. her (which, I admit, I did consider …albeit briefly), I was authentic, and she stepped into the mess with me. Her feedback note started with: “Good News! You’re Having Twins!” which was her way of saying I had two big ideas that needed their own space.
She made me and my ideas better. She didn’t spend her energy judging me or making me feel small so she affected my mood which of course made it easier to persevere. And she didn’t try and change what I wanted to create but to reflect back clearly, asking questions to hone my own thinking. She brought the best of her talented self, so I could bring out the best of my talented self. She (perhaps you) would probably say, “that’s what great editors do”, but that would deny another truth within this story. It is also what great collaborators do. It is what a great “network” does.
Is there a lesson here for all of us?
Could we all be more intentional in creating the network that supports us? Support for you would likely look different than what support looks like for me. But let me share my ideas in case it spurs your own: I want to be surrounded by those “earthy practitioners” who are working being and doing their best, authentically. I want those who feed my soul with good ideas, and a positive approach. I want people to remind me to be faithful. I really want to be with fit people. I definitely want people who can help me see things differently, who challenge my thinking but also create solutions (example: that idea is weak, read this, and then let me introduce you this guy I know who is an expert…). I seek those who challenge me to be more of who I am (not who they want me to be). I want to be around people who know how to build on “and, rather than no”… ideas. I want to work with people who let me help them cross a finish line & create great outcomes. I admit I want to be appreciated & recognized for when I help others with my gifts. I want to be with people who, like me, advance the agendas of people we think are worthy of note, say by tweeting their ideas, recommending them as speakers, or buying their book.
Now this is in stark contrast to what I accepted (or, should I say, allowed) 2 years ago, and I’ve changed. No more one-way relationships. No working with editors who have perfected how to berate but lack the ability to build on ideas. No more hanging our with people who spin,spin,spin everything all the time, forgetting I remember the last version of the story; it’s taxing to be with someone that I can’t trust what they say. No relationships that require drama cause I really shouldn’t have to remind you to treat me right.
What we allow to surround us … affects us. This connectedness affects the mental framework, the physical being, the process of work, and ultimately what we are able to create. So I’m choosing differently. I may not have the mix right, but I am paying attention to it.
A good resource for this topic of connectedness is this brilliant book, or watch the TED video (ignore the graphics, which are just plain funky) or check out the rules that inform good social constructs.
What would your world look like if you had a network that supported you? Do you already? Awesome! I’m sure that’s why you are kicking-ass. (Thank you, Sarah, and to my many collaborators — you know who you are and hopefully how much I appreciate you!)