Who’s Paying Attention To You?

Do you think people are paying attention to what you post?

Guess, what – they are.

Whether you feel like you’re out in the weeds by yourself, or you’re wondering if anybody even cares, and you’re only trying to hear yourself speak by putting video up or writing something and posting it – guess what: somebody is gonna pay attention.

Case in point: yesterday I updated by LinkedIn profile… And put some material on there that I should have updated a while ago.

I opened up my LinkedIn today and there are several dozen people saying, “hey Congrats!” “Way to go”…

And I’m thinking, I just updated – that stuff isn’t brand new!?!

People are paying attention and people want to participate – that’s called connectivity, that’s called community building.

The next time you think and you wonder, “why am I doing this – does this matter to anybody?” Know that it does!

Keep it coming from who you are, what you are, how you serve. People are there and they’re eager to connect. That was one sign for me today.

Special props to my LinkedIn coaches: Amy Jones & Kate Paine & Misfit Group….

Magic Boots

I’ve got magic boots.

  • They’re not magic in the way they’re made.
  • They’re not magic in the fact I got them from a genie.

They’re magic because they’re connecting boots.

They’re the craziest boots I’ve ever bought. I love boots. They’re super comfortable and kind of a signature thing for me….

And I realized that when I got these boots, I got something I loved. What I didn’t realize is that I got a connecting tool.

They have more sparkles on them than are in the Milky Way. It was a surprise even to me that I got them(!).

Every single time I wear them somebody makes a comment.

And it’s a positive comment. “Wow, great boots,” or “those are terrific!”

Something that’s very complementary.

I’ve learned that they’re a remarkable connecting tactic.

So when I teach about connectivity and how to get comfortable and confident connecting, one thing I love to highlight is the boots.

Not that everyone has to have a pair of boots.

Know though that everybody has something that makes them attractive and interesting and makes somebody else want to engage with them.

So, what are your boots? What is it that helps you attract and welcome people to who you are simply by being you?

Tell me in the comments below.

Sixteen Books and Fifteen CD’s

Sixteen books and fifteen audio CD’s.

When I spread all of these on the floor of my in-law’s home following a book sale buy, I took another look:

What did I really have?

Had I actually read any of them before? Maybe they were attractive to me again as they were at first.

What was it about the books I bought that attracted me?

I  realized that I had in fact read at least one of them previously (got redonated).

I’m a pretty avid reader. My Fine Husband marvels at how much I read, specifically how many books I read. My appetite for reading and learning and pondering is ever-hungry.

As a connector, I find that reading provides many different advantages:

  • Always something to talk about, open a conversation with and meet new folks because of.
  • Keeps me current and informed. Along with books, a few online platforms of communities keep the choices flowing.
  • My vocabulary expands. Invariably I read words that are new, which I then learn and add to my own lexicon – or at least understand when I come across them again.
  • Enriches my life, my endeavors (“work” included) and therefore what I give outward in life.

One of my Grandmas was blind. She’d progressively gone blind as she aged. In fact, she never saw what I really looked like. I entered her life as an adult when her peripheral vision was what she had remaining.

I remember going to her house often (we lived in the same town) and hearing the books on tape turned up so she could hear them while she puttered in her home. She would get a great variety of books to listen to and we would talk about some of them. She wasn’t going without books, vision be damned.

The earliest memories of childhood I have include walking to the local library branch as a very small child, with my mom and sister. We’d check out as many books as we could carry – and did so, often. I’m grateful to have been indoctrinated into the incredible world of the libraries and reading so young.

Reading is so much more than text on pages or screens, or even via audio recordings. It’s a powerful way to engage with minds of every conceivable thinking, to explore the world from a comfy chair and it’s a way to learn in service to others.

I can’t imagine not being able to read. So those 16 books and 15 CD’s were but a symptom of my love of connecting with ideas in written and audio form.

What are you reading?

p.s. if you’re an author and would like to offer your books, in audio format, to hungry readers, contact Learning Ally. I recorded my first book with them. They provide a truly valuable service.

Sunflower Jungle

This is my front yard. My HQ window is far left (though I’m not sure how well you can see it!).

Sunflower Jungle promotes neighborhood connections

The sunflower jungle has come about like this:

  1. Year one: a few volunteer sunflowers grew, close to the HQ, looked great and made a lot of birds happy.
  2. Year two: we shook the dried heads (winter time) around the yard, moved the stiff dried stalks around the yard for the birds as well for a variety of gathering spots. We also saw more sunflowers sprout and flourish from year one dropped & spread seeds. I transplanted some around the yard when they were still quite small, with great success. Read: amplify the effect of spread seeds.
  3. Year three: well, here we are so far! from my HQ office, I see and hear people walk, run, bike and stroll by – my office window is open much of the time, at least a crack, to keep refreshing fresh air moving. It’s not officially graduated from a few to a garden to a jungle!

The comments people make are smile-inducing:

  • “Wow! That looks so cool – it’ll be great when they bloom.”
  • “whoa – that’s a lot of plants – what are those, sunflowers?”

…among the comments.

For full disclosure: we’re the crazy change-everything-house/HQ in my neighborhood. When we moved in, we almost immediately cut down a sick full-grown tree, bagged insidious splinter-giving Doug fir mulch (to the tune of 100 bags!), gave away on the sidewalk timbers that had bordered the mulch, removed shoddy trim, sanded the entire house (!) and painted it this gorgeous deep red, made and installed new funky trim, painted the rest of the house features bright colors, removed a worn out shingle roof, replaced it with metal roofing, installed a solar system….and so forth.

The sunflower jungle is an extension of the fact that we love our homestead & HQ, want to improve it and find it rewarding to be the ‘what will they do next’ house.

Connectivity works like all of this. Year one: ______ Year two: _______ Year three: _______ If you’re trying to plant or start relationships, you’ve got to do so intentionally. Then you review, discuss, think and keep going. If it takes off, well, then you’ve got a whole new ball of wax to melt! A happy one at that. Success begets success.

My Fine Husband has suggested we put up a sign in the front of the jungle encouraging people to “Pick Your Own” once they’re blooming. I love this idea! It’s a way to share the bounty, to connect more in a safe and fun manner.

Figuring out how connectivity blossoms can start as simply and easily as planting flowers. They’ll help you take it from there.

Wonder what Year Four will look like….

Manage Your Expectations

“Ginger, learn how to manage your expectations.” – RK

These words of true wisdom from experience have echoed many times in my brain since the day I heard them. They came to the surface again yesterday.

I was invited by a valued colleague and trusted friend to substitute for her at a business meeting she regularly attends. Happily, I accepted. Glad to represent her and her trust in me to do so. Also for the opportunity rich environ that I know these meetings can offer for connecting.

Seeing several people I already knew plus meeting more ‘new’ folk was a great start as I headed into the area of the event.

It didn’t go as I anticipated.

Why?

Because at a pivotal moment in the meeting, when I expected to be able to do one thing that I very much wanted to do – and assumed was going to be able to do, I wasn’t allowed to do it.

Wait….what??

I questioned it in the moment, with the entire group listening, and then let it drop. “Hmmm,” I thought to myself. “Well, this isn’t what I expected and it doesn’t sit right with me…so, how can I now shift my agenda to make this worthwhile?”

Time to manage my expectations.

What are your expectations?

A brief internal debate ensured, including the consideration of finding a moment to duck out. Having run that scenario with my friend in mind, I decided to stay. What I did was to consciously shift my expectations from the anticipated unfulfilled opportunity to how to make the best of the rest of the meeting. That’s exactly what ensued.

My attention then was no longer fully on the meeting: it was on meeting, aka Connecting. How could I optimize my time there while respectfully representing my friend? Simple: manage my expectations.

As the meeting ended and the usual milling about as people leave was underway, I was stopped by a few people who suggested getting together. Setting up connections with others was certainly part of my initial plan; and once the plan unexpectedly shifted to what I thought wasn’t in my favor, setting up connections was my primary goal.

Success.

Connectivity happens all the time, whether we have it as a primary, secondary or hundredth goal. Opportunities abound. Shifting my expectations from the connectivity being second into first place reminded me why I do what I do.

It isn’t to represent my friends (though always honored & flattered to be asked).

It’s to bring my full self to the game, to get out and move about. It’s to know my Why and check in with my mindset as to what I’m doing. It’s to connect on purpose and with purpose.

Big thanks to my quoted friend and mentor, brilliant and tenacious and gracious business person, Rhonda Kallman.

Eat Your Books

Have you ever heard of an Edible Book Fest?

I hadn’t until my mominlaw told me about one her local library hosts annually, in conjunction with one of the library book sales.

“Sounds fun… Tell me more.”

She found an article, sent it to me and we quickly agreed we’d love to do it together.

See, my mominlaw and I share a genuine love of reading. And not just reading: of books, of literacy and of doing activities together. It was pretty easy to seal the deal. No one had to be lobbied or convinced! We jumped in.

Fast forward to the month of April in breezy Casper, Wyoming.

Do you think the animals did it??

My Fine Family and I arrive via Wrangler to do it up right…or at least figure out how we’re going to have a ball, participate reasonably and support the library in the doing.

Shirley, my MIL, charged me with full production, she’d bankroll the adventure. We mutually ideated, went on a grocery store reconnaissance trip to scope out available supplies and therefore get ideas. Our laughing at the local stores at 8 pm got some attention and a few friendly comments. Clearly, a good sign.

The next day we shopped and gathered what we *hoped* would be all we needed to create this Thing. Knowing that, like plumbing projects, cooking can unravel and require more than one trip for supplies. For the record, the one trip did it for us; we made it all work with what we already had & specific supplies.

Fest day dawned, we were feeling ready and our mantra had become Participation, Not Perfection.

Into the car the readied items go, off we drive – carefully – to the library to off-load and set up… We weren’t the first ones in to get it set (note to self for next year: arrive earlier). It was fun to see what was already set up as well as walk in alongside of another entry being gingerly carried to its designated table.

Patrons of the library then perused, cast votes and the organizers tallied the slips of paper; you could vote for one each in 5 different age & ability categories.

With anticipation, a crowd gathered… And at this point, seriously, I hadn’t even THOUGHT of the awards. I was doing it because it was great fun to do with Shirley.

Me & Shirley, silly & thrilled…and connected to the Library

Lo and behold, we got a 2nd place ribbon!! Talk about noisy happy recipients – I grabbed my MIL and we danced up to the front, both of us with silly grins on our faces, laughing the whole way, simply glad to be part of the whole shebang.

So what does all of this have to do with connecting?

Participation, not perfection is what. When you’re connecting with other people and therefore your community, your plugging in, paying attention and getting into a mix of involvement. To participate is to support, connect and meet & see.

A fest like this is a really fun way to share in the festivities, supporting entities like libraries and meeting other good-humored people. You should have seen some of the other displays…what a hoot!

We’re already plotting, okay – I am, for next year. I think my MIL is too. Let the connections continue!!

See you there next year?

FYI – we chose Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First HotAir Balloon Ride, Marjorie Priceman, 2006 Caldecott Honor Book

Get To Know Your Postal Carrier

Who else knows the name of their postal carrier?

In talking with my mom this morning, she inquired about my business endeavors. This is no small ask: I’ve invented and reinvented myself a number of times as an adult and she wants to know what I’m up to. I appreciate that very much.

So in explaining what I do – in my pursuit to talk about Connectivity I pointed out that Connectivity runs in our family. One example of how the four of us (Mom, Dad, Sister, me) are connectors is how we all know our postal carriers. We know their names and a few things about them. We’re glad to see them and happy to help make their lives and efforts easier and smoother. How?

Because we ask. Because they are people like us (seems obvious enough) and they have lives outside their routes (like all of us, again). While that’s all seemingly well and good, why don’t more people know their carriers?

Perhaps the more common question or curiosity from those who don’t know their carrier to those of us who do is: why? Why do you, how do you, to what end? Why bother to begin with?

Well, connectors realize that connections are to be made everywhere in our lives. The example of the postal carrier is one specific example.

More than ‘just’ a mailbox…it’s an opportunity to connect.

I like to know my postal carriers because they are the bearers of whobody mail, other stuff I may or may not want delivered to me in rainsleetsnow, and because they may have questions for me. Like, where can I leave packages for you? Or, I noticed your mail piled up for a few days – would you like me to help you hold it when you go out-of-town?

It’s also because when I know them, I find out how I can make their endeavors smoother and more enjoyable too. I imagine, like all work, there is some mundanity involved. If I can help liven up their day, bring a smile to their face, treat them with respect and have a pleasant conversation, then we’re all good.

I want to know them because I have a life long love affair of the postal service for what it can bring to life – and what it delivers to others. I want to know because they’re engaged, smart, see-a-lot-of-stuff-the-rest-of-us-don’t-see community members. And because they’re often taken for granted and unseen. We get our mail out of the box and that’s it for many.

That’s not it for me.

Connecting with them is.

Cheers today to all the diligent postal carriers and my mom for inspiring this post. Connect with your local USPS or whomever you send goods and letters to and fro with. I’m inspired by other people working for a living, helping others accomplish their goals and desires. Indeed, it’s why I do what I do – speak and write about connectivity. Being connected with my postal carriers connects me to one small portion of the population.

Because with connectivity everything is possible.

Tell me your story of knowing your postal people below. We’ll all benefit in hearing how they come to be. Thanks.

Canon Topics: Seeking Your Stories

If you have a story you want to share with me on Connecting and Connectivity, please do.

If you’re willing to have me consider including it in the upcoming book, the Connectivity Canon, I’d be grateful for the opportunity! Email me here.

Here are the chapters, in progress:

  • Connectivity is…
  • Connectivity Isn’t…
  • Why & Mindset
  • First Move / how to make contact
  • Y In The Road / yes (stay) or go (keep moving on)
  • Follow Your Path / what’s next after the Y
  • FUFT / follow up & follow through
  • Permission Slips to disconnect / unconnecting
  • Resources

Interested in being a Beta Reader of the draft chapters & feel qualified to provide constructive feedback? That’d be swell too. Same email applies.

The book is due later Spring to early Summer. Thanks.

Keep connecting.

Corollaries and Connections

“I read through the IGST (which was awesome) and noticed it directly relates to the Scientific Process that I use daily. I knew I had to share the sciencey side of your ideas! I think of it like this: Observation, Hypothesis, Experiment Logistics, Data Collection.

Isn’t it amazing how easily we can adapt our thinking and apply what we already know to an aspect we don’t? I never considered applying the Scientific Method to my approach in reaching customers/clients! Thanks for constantly pushing me out of my zone!!”

Props today to Dana for inspiring the post today. She’s an accomplished and continually growing science professional. She shared this corollary following one of my emailers.

For the record, IGST = Intention, Goal, Strategy, Tactic. I have learned it in my own education and pass it forward with my clients and audiences. It’s a simple, straight forward and usefully powerful set of directors.

It’s fun and enlightening to learn of more connections.

They’re everywhere. To have advocates, friends and colleagues share what similarities they see, in their own world helps me keep growing and learning too. It’s one example of what connecting means in real life.

Emailers Are For Education…Part 1

What would you make of this email, if it landed in your inbox:

“Hello Ginger,

I hope you’re having a great Thursday so far.

This is [name] from [X] Branding. I wanted to introduce myself, and let you know that your account has been reassigned over to me. In looking through our system, I noticed that we never have the chance to sell anything to you.

We have really great products, and would like for you to have a chance to try them. We offer 25% to clients making their first purchase, so let me know if you have any event marketing needs or product information that we can help you with.

Best regards, [name].”

to be continued….