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connections and self-absorptionDoes your life and work schedule resemble the landing strip at O’Hare or LaGuardia airports—so much incoming activity that there’s no time for anything else?

No time to think or reflect or connect?

(Sometimes, in my first act of life, there was hardly time to go to the bathroom!)

In today’s crazy busy world we connect with technology frequently, spending lots of time interacting with a device (Crackberry, anyone?).

Yet it’s connecting with real people that brings genuine success and satisfaction to our personal and professional lives.

Making those “people” connections requires us being thoughtful in seeing, and seizing, the opportunities to “only connect” as E.M. Forester says.

You’re 1/12 into a new year.

Are you as connected with others as you’d like to be?

If not, use this three-pronged approach as your guide to making the other 11/12 of the year rich with quality leadership connections.

Connect with you

If your personal reservoir is empty, there isn’t much to share with others. Re-engage with what’s important to you. Psychologist Daniel Goleman’s work with emotional intelligence is a helpful place to start:

The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.

Getting in touch with what we fail to notice—about ourselves and others—is a crucial first step to establishing powerful connections.

  • What’s my personal and professional north, and am I still on track?
  • What worthwhile things have I done today that I will continue doing?
  • Whose life did I touch today and help make it better?
  • What one thing, big or small, did I do today to renew my energy and increase my knowledge and/or skills?

Connect with those around you

Make the time – or schedule it if that works for you – so you’re spending five quality minutes with a direct report, colleague, client, vendor, assistant, the barista who makes your daily latte, and so on. Establishing relationships with those around you at work – at every level within the organization and externally as well – is a make-or-break element for career success.

  • Ask “how are you doing today?” Then really listen to the answer and ask follow-up questions.
  • Say thank you. Throw in a smile for good measure.
  • Celebrate an accomplishment. Chocolate is one of the four food groups!
  • Ask them about sports, their kids, a favorite TV show, etc. Explore, discover and share interests to build a bond.

Connect with your boss

Some bosses are the scourge of the earth, others just delightful. Either way, engage him or her in a meaningful exchange. Your boss can propel your career to new heights or hold you back behind your back. Aim for the propelling part.

  • Ask  if there’s some way you can help out.
  • Ask him about his family or favorite book so you can establish some common ground and shared interests.
  • Ask her where she sees her career going and what will help her succeed.

Make making meaningful connections a goal, a habit, a way of life!

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