One of the most common issues I hear from my clients is the feeling of isolation and not having a circle of confidants. Whether it’s their place in their career, the aftermath of the global pandemic, or perceived access to like-minded individuals, this feeling can impact every part of our life, and show up in a myriad of ways.
Last week, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released an advisory addressing the “epidemic of loneliness and isolation” affecting the country and laying out a framework for a “National Strategy to Advance Social Connection”.
Social connection is as essential to humanity as food, water or shelter, the advisory says. Humans have historically needed to rely on each other for survival, and modern people remain wired for that connection and for proximity to others.
Social connections have been one of the most important parts of my career and life. It fills my cup, expands my thinking, and gives me safety nets. When I have strong connections, my world is better. When I don’t have them, I feel myself stumbling and not achieving my potential.
What do these connections mean to me?
· A feeling of community. Surrounded by line-minded people who support me and have my back.
· Sharing ideas, experiences and thoughts, laughs and good times. As well as the not-so-good times.
· Getting sound advice and counsel in a psychologically safe space.
· Just knowing you are not going alone- my connections lift me up.
Dr. Murthy created 6 pillars, which you can read here:Surgeon general lays out framework to tackle loneliness and 'mend the social fabric of our nation' | CNN
The last pillar is the one I want to focus on: Creating a culture of connection, where we “cultivate values of kindness, respect, service, and commitment to one another”. This is the skill I’ve been building my entire career, especially after experiencing environments that do not have this culture. Here is what I have practiced:
· Treat my connections as people first, not colleagues. Creating that personal connection is key.
· Reach out. Everyone gets busy, and making time to touch base makes all the difference
· Kindness is key- showing empathy, encouragement and support makes these connections stronger.
· Keeping judgement out of discussions. I try to remember that everyone has a right to their values and views. This is harder these days, but so needed.
· Be vulnerable- the strongest connections come from the deeply-real conversations, and showing your vulnerability creates safety for others to share.
To assist in creating these communities for women leaders, I have launched Summer Coaching Circles. These intimate groups of like-minded women will allow for in-depth self-discovery, community development, insightful learning moments, and expert coaching.
I hope you will join us in combatting isolation, loneliness and create uplifting spaces for real connections and community
To join a coaching circle: click here Coachingcircles | The Sinha Group