Disconnecting & Connecting: Both Are Required

Who will you connect with – and disconnect with – in 2018?

Connections start with a single move. A comment to another person standing in line to get coffee. A complement to someone next to you at the conference. A smile to the person also standing in the rain, waiting for the bus.  Holding the door for another person.

Connections can often start easily, with a single sentence.

So why is it hard sometimes to end a connection?

By the time we’ve sometimes decided that the person we’ve contacted and maybe even begun connecting with isn’t the Right Person, it can feel sticky to remove ourselves. We may feel compelled to have to explain yet are horrified at having to have that conversation.

Connections & Disconnections: both are necessary.

In reality, disconnection is equally important to healthy, meaningful and purposeful relationship. Disconnection is part of connection. So how can you disconnect simply and respectfully?

  1. Do it live: in person or on the phone. Never via email, text or other impersonal electronica.
  2. Be up front. A simple thoughtful conversation of, “I’ve appreciated our time together. It’s time for me to move on, it’s not a good fit. Best wishes, good-bye.”
  3. Be brief. A few concentrated minutes of deciding what you’ll kindly and specifically and succinctly say to the other person in advance of your conversation is worth its weight in gold.
  4. Be respectful. If you feel compelled to say more after your brief and direct address, stop yourself, pause. No apologies are necessary if it’s not a right fit; simply restate that you’ve appreciated their time again and move on.
  5. Move on. Don’t linger in your own mind or get caught in the “maybewecouldve’s.” If you’ve really decided that a disconnect is in order, do it civilly and stick to it.
  6. Don’t burn connections, even in disconnecting. Disconnect when you’re fully alert, sober and with empathy. You’d want the same in return.

I’ve learned over the years not everyone is willing to be so directly compassionate in ending a connection. So it goes. We’re human – we want easy & quick and to remove ourselves with minimal discomfort. What I do is have my mindset to accepting, even if I don’t understand, and moving on. Belaboring or trying to get an audience with someone who has disconnected with you isn’t going to be fruitful.

Every end provides room for a new beginning. Use the fuel of the situation to move forward rather than languish and mope. You can change the future, not the past.

Once a disconnect has happened, open up your mind, set it on positive and go try again.

The First Step In Connecting: Mindset

The first step in connecting is an active awareness that you want to meet other people. It’s making up your mind that you’re going to go forth and connect.

It’s not the handshake, it’s not the business card or phone number exchange, it’s not ‘networking.’ All these ideas are valid – yet they are not the first step. Why not, you may ask?

Because your mindset is the first consideration. Before you do or think anything else, you must have the mindset of confidence, ability and willingness. Mindset is the foundation of connectivity. Let me give you an example.

Do you see the opportunity to play in the snow – or that you have to shovel? It’s all mindset.

Say you feel compelled to attend a business oriented event. Are you feeling like you ‘have to go’ or that someone else told you that you ‘should’ attend? If that tone of expectation – someone else telling you what you should do – then that’s the wrong way to set forth.

That’s not your mindset; it’s someone else’s.

Your mindset needs to be of your own making; you need to feel your own true compulsion to go forth and connect with other people. Only you can know what motivates you and therefore only you can build your own awareness, which you can act upon, to actually take that step.

Say, then, that you are compelled to attend a business event. You’re keen to meet a particular person or person with some sort of expertise or shared affinity whom you’re likely to find in that crowd. You’re motivated by your mindset of moving toward a goal of meeting that person. Your mind is open to the potential, open to meeting one or more people to see if you can find that person you’re looking to connect with and therefore your quest is much more positively exciting.

You’re much more likely to actually meet the person you’re seeking too. And perhaps others as well.

Mindset is everything in all our interactions and, therefore, in our connections. Are you happy? That’s a mindset. Are you crabby? That’s a mindset. Are you determined? That’s mindset as well.

Whatever you make up your mind to be and think, that’s what mindset is. If it’s open and curious you’re setting yourself up for much better success. At a minimum – even if you don’t meet that person – you have a good time. And you’ll go again, to another event to try again. You’ll begin connecting.

Mindset matters. Actually, it’s everything in connecting. Start with mindset, put that mental framework into action and you’re going to make progress.

The 5 Day Connecting Challenge Kickoff: Webinar 1.9.18

Save the date – register today!!

The 5 Day Connecting Challenge Kick off Webinar

When: January 9th, 2018, 8 – 9 am PST.

What: This webinar will kick off The 5 Day Connecting Challenge – a week full of learning how & why to connect with other people.

Why: Who we’re connecting with and are connected to changes the world, ourselves & the other people we meet (connectivity = pretty much everything…).

Who: For those who want to learn why connecting is important – and different from networking; for those who want to learn tactics to connect (how do I do this?); for those new to connecting (learn some basics); for those who are already connectors (amp your abilities).

Where: Online (we’re lining up tools to host now). Send us your first & last name & direct email address to register today and you’ll be kept informed. Send to: Ginger@gingerjohnson.com

How: We’ll provide a link for you to join the webinar toward your increased enjoyment of meeting and getting to know new people – as well as deepen relationships with people you already know. You’ll also get a printable guide to help you in your 5 Day Connecting Challenge – designed to best prepare you, record your experiences and examine what happened and what you can adapt and adopt in the future.



Annnnnnnnd – There’s more!!

We’ll follow the first webinar for The 5 Day Connecting Challenge with the second one: Follow Up & Follow Through, the FUFT Principle, on Tuesday January 23rd, 8 – 9 am. It’ll be our time together to discuss what happened, check in, share ideas, successes, ask questions and keep the connecting momentum going.

Once you register for the first session on the 9th, we’ll keep you posted for the 23rd.

Join us January 9th to really jump into a splendid connected 2018. See you then – thanks.


Connector & Solutionist

Useful Books For Leaders

A colleague called me last week and asked me for a book recommendation.

She had a specific kind of book in mind for the recipient, so I put my best brains forward to conjure some suggestions that might fit with her intended.

After I offered the 5th or 6th book, I shared, “remember – I’m a voracious reader! So you tell me when you’ve had enough suggestions.” She echoed that she had in fact called me because she knew that and was appreciative of what I could share.

So to that end, I’ve shared books I find very worthwhile before, and I’m here to do it again today. Enjoy ~

  1. Secrets of Six Figure Women, Barbara Stanny (good for everyone!)
  2. Drive and To Sell Is Human, Daniel H Pink
  3. The Martha Rules, Martha Stewart
  4. Monster Loyalty and Creating Customer Evangelists, Jackie Huba (CCE: co-author Ben McConnell
  5. Take the Stairs, Rory Vader
  6. Do Over, Jon Acuff
  7. Desert Queen, biography of Gertrude Bell, Janet Wallach
  8. The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo
  9. Uncommon Service, Frances Frei and Anne Morriss
  10. Kitchen Literacy, Ann Vileisis
  11. Waste & Want, Susan Strasser
  12. My Life On The Road, Gloria Steinem
  13. Sunday New York Times, weekly
  14. Rising Strong, Brené Brown
  15. Win Without Pitching Manifesto, Blair Enns

That’s a short list. I actually started reading one business book per week a few years ago, got about three months in and promptly misplaced the small journal I use to keep track (it’s green, about 4 x 7 if you find it – last seen at the Rogue Valley Country Club, Medford OR).

There are also myriad fiction books I’ve not listed – like Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs and M C Beaton’s sheerly entertaining Agatha Raisin mystery series. It’s all good.

Reading is my ultimate brain food. It is my portal into other minds, worlds and thinkings; it keeps me focused, refreshed, distracted, enlightened, challenged, current and smart. Without reading, I would never aim to be a leader. Readers are leaders. It’s more than a pithy saying – it’s the truth. If I can’t read, I’m outta here.

However you read, keep doing it. Share the value of written, carefully crafted words designed to be meaningful and purposeful to someone else: the reader, you & me. Literacy quite literally improves the world.

Reading feeds my connecting beast too. Reading and understanding – as well as not understanding – what I read gives me topics to talk about with other people. It keeps me connected to what other people are doing, ideas I can think about however familiar or foreign and connects me to a world I’d otherwise have perhaps no other way to connect with: people with all kinds of ideas and thoughts.

As I’m writing my second book (here’s my first), reading also helps me be a better writer, since I’m examining the entire piece together, starting one word at a time.

Please comment below and tell me what you’re reading of worth as well as what you’ve read (no matter when) that you can’t shut up about, in any genre.

Connecting With Geena Davis

I’ve long been an admirer of Geena Davis.

Ms. Davis has high standards and helps lift her profession by her choices of acting roles. She’s smart (Mensa member), savvy and provides and aspirational example for all people. She makes change happen.

SeeJane.org is the entity Ms. Davis founded, with her Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. Her mission is one I absolutely support. Her initial motivation to begin these efforts are rooted in her real life; and they relate to what I’ve seen in my work as well.

To that end, I’ve given to the organization before. It was at a donor event that I had the chance to meet her. And while I’m pretty unflappable, I was pretty dang excited for the chance. She’s gracious, kind and was agreeable to all the people in the room who wanted a few moments of her time and a picture. In fact, after the first brief conversation with her, I decided to try again.

Connecting with Ms. Davis: what an honor!

The event was a smallish one with a limited guest list, so it wasn’t hard to locate her in the room. It was a fundraiser for her organization, and I saw who I thought might be one of her daughters, so I made my way to her again and engaged in casual conversation, not creepy, about the girl I saw. Indeed, it was one of her daughters, so I kept the conversation safe, and short and then we parted ways again.

Regardless of the outcome, I was – like I stated earlier – thrilled to simply meet her. To have made a connection with someone I admire is an accomplishment to me. Have I told people about it? Yes, I have! What I keep in mind is that when you intentional connect with someone, they may not be prepared to meet you, even though they are on your mind. My endeavor to connect with Ms. Davis was successful. I set out to be in the same room with someone I admire and was able to meet her and talk briefly. That was my goal. Mission accomplished.

At this point I don’t know Ms. Davis nearly on the level I know Don. Yet I’m optimistic and am always looking for opportunities to support her work and situations in which to get to know her and others I connect with better. What an incredible friend she’d likely be. She’s welcome at my home anytime.

Connecting isn’t stalking. It’s not glad handing or just getting your picture taken with a celebrity. Nope. It’s more of support, seeking and making opportunity and figuring out how they fit in my world, how I may fit in theirs.

A networker may well have tried to meet her, ask her for something, been pushy in their interaction – or gushing. To me that keeps you in the sea of unremarkability and quota land; that’s networking. For someone to say that they met this person or that person simply to brag, with no real connection, isn’t connecting.

Who knows what the future holds here. What I do know is that had I not taken those steps – those intentional moves forward – I’d never have met her. Does she remember me? Likely not. Yet if and when we meet again, I’m glad I was simply being human with her, not star struck or pushy. Connecting on a real level, one on one, person to person. That’s where the magic happens.

Who Can You Meet On A Hike?

[scene: clear and short sleeve comfortable day, Columbia River gorge, 2010]

A group of professionals assemble for a hike following a regional industry meeting. We begin at the trail head, following the leader down the trail.

It’s one of those organic sort of activities – everyone knows about it, you don’t have to register – you simply show up and go if you’re so inclined. I was so inclined.

As we follow the path, our rhythmic hiking begets conversations. Various voices along the snaking body of hikers can be heard as we move. The gent in front of me and I start talking. I think I was the end of the group, too, so we could go at whatever pace suited us.

I recall thinking about this pleasant person, “wow – he’s hiking in flip flips…I’d be sliding all over the trail! Guess he’s got some years wearing those things and staying upright.” As well he did.

While I don’t recall specifically what we talked about, I know it wasn’t about the industry. It was about life. Different wanderings, with both of us asking questions of the other, listening and carrying on. It was a very fun, mutually enjoyable conversation.

As we emerged from the woodsy trail at the end, we shared our first names, said our goodbyes and each went our respective ways. I’m sure I was smiling as I repaired to my car, to rejoin My Fine Husband who was somewhere else in the hiking pack.

Typical scenery in the Columbia Gorge

We both returned to the car at about the same time and he had seen my ad hoc hiking buddy. “Do you know who that was?” he asked. No, I replied. “That was Don Barkley, one of the early pioneers in modern American brewing.” Oh, okay.

As I got more of the story on Don from MFH, I smiled. What we talked about was very human, real and everyday stuff. Not spectacular, impressive or arrogant. THAT’S what connecting is: it’s hiking alongside someone who’s first name you may know, you may not. You have a fun, relaxing unassuming time talking about things you both want to talk about. You part ways and may or may not come back together. You’ve made a real connection with another person, with no motive other than to meet and learn something about them.

Fast forward several years and I count Don as a valued, warm friend and colleague. We’ve since met his spouse, hung out, talked and even run into each other in unexpected places – it’s always a pleasure to see Don.

I know I can – and have – called Don with questions and he’s glad to help me out. When we talk, he does the same with me. He’s engaged in our relationship, as I am. We’re connected. When you’re connected, you are glad to help another person.

That relationship would never have unfolded the same way had we started with the typical and loathsome American question of, “What do you do?” Having asked that question for years myself, I now have struck it from my vocabulary. What we do isn’t the point nor an effective relationship starting line.

Who we are, what we are engaged in, what we love – those are all connecting points. Anyone can ‘do’ anything. Where we find the human connection is where we find the magic.

Are you ready to go hiking?