Values: Connection

Chuck's Candle

Uncle Chuck's Green Candle

Last week I spent some time plotting out how I would go about making and keeping the commitment to myself to update my site with something new almost every day.

My thinking was something along these lines, “You want to do this and you need a deadline in order to do what you want to do. You manage to announce your every eye blink on Facebook. Surely you can pause long enough to connect with folks in a more meaningful way.”

Thus the plotting. I planned to offer a post on each of my core values on Mondays, a more practical “how to” post on transitions on Tuesdays, a book review on Wednesdays… I even created really neato-skeeto graphics for the Monday Motivation series over the weekend and sorted through my ideas for the one I wanted to write about.

And then I stared at the screen for about an hour.

Because my planned post isn’t what I’m thinking about and it just isn’t very me-like to fake a post. That wouldn’t be authentic. (See, there are those values now!)

What are you thinking about, Gina?

Well, to be quite frank, I’m thinking about my Uncle Chuck, who died about 10 hours ago after being in the hospital for three months in a city far away from his home and his family. I’m thinking about my Aunt and my Cousins and most especially my Mama E who is just starting the journey of grieving the loss of her brother and all of the specific sadnesses and joys they’ll each experience as we move through these days.

I’m thinking about relationships and what makes us fond of one another. How do we determine who gets in and who stays over there? What ties us to someone enough to miss them when they are gone? How is it that you can feel connected to someone you haven’t seen in 20 years while barely taking note of the guy who serves you coffee every day?

One of the things I love most about Ned Andrew is that he connects with people. Not just the people who have letters after their names or hold some major sway in his day. He couldn’t care less whether you have a PhD or M&Ms in your pocket. He learns the names of everyone in his milieu — including the folks at the seafood counter. (Kim at Publix. Al at Kroger.) He greets people on the street. He calls people back. He connects.

I value that connection.

When I was in sales I was accused of taking too long on each customer in spite of leading the team in numbers. “Get ’em in! Get ’em sold! Next!” I suppose they thought if I could sell faster, I could sell even more. I tried to follow the scripts, but not only did it feel awful and awkward and phony, my sales plummeted too. It didn’t work because I’m not comfortable interacting with people that way. I’d rather slow down, ask questions, really listen to the answers, ask another question, call a colleague, research solutions, and actually find a way to help that person get to what they’re hoping to do/be/have. I’d rather treat people as, well, people deserving of my attention and respect and patience as they make their own choices. (Wow. There’s self-determination. Values everywhere.)



It is vital to my feeling like a whole, healthy, on purpose human being to create and sustain connections with other people in my life. I’m not interested in the analytics of our digital realities. Of course I love to see trends (I count my workouts!) but I’m not interested in doing integral calculus on my relationships. Because does it really matter how many followers I have? My reach? Clicks? Views? Pings? Trackbacks? if at the end of the day my only ROI is a cool graph showing more of… whatever those things attempt to count?

Honestly, I’d rather have one really amazing conversation with another fascinating individual over the course of months and months. I’d rather be in relationships that are rich enough that that the day after my death someone misses me enough to inspire people they know to pause, light a candle, and think about what matters.



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