Beyond the Zoom Room
I love Zoom as a platform and its features continue to evolve, but like so many of us, I am craving connection. While both the time and tools of quarantine have enabled me to reconnect with teammates, friends, and family members I haven't seen in months - or in some cases, even years - it doesn't replace the sense of belonging I feel when I see these folks in person.
Hugging It Out
You see, I'm a hugger. My friends (and even my clients) will tell you, we don't just talk it out, we hug it out.
Seriously, I don't consider clients as customers, but partners. We celebrate birthdays and milestones together; we check-in on rough days; we cry together on the really rough ones.
My clients don't just hire me to plan, strategize, and design with them. We do these things, but we also relationship-build, team-build, and rapport-build as partners. Because when you're in the business of adult learning and leadership coaching, you recognize that - to do this work well - means you're engaging with the whole person. Not just their mindset or their skill sets, but their heart set too. I don't take this responsibility lightly, and I miss my partners.
Staying in "Touch"
So you can imagine my excitement a couple weeks ago when a partner, who is also a mentor of mine, reached beyond the Zoom room to pick up the phone and call on a Friday afternoon. We caught up, we checked in, and we strategized. So many things felt right about that call, and I have been reflecting since then as to why. Here are some thoughts about the connections I/we are missing:
It was unexpected. Much like how we might bump into one another in the staff room or decide to have an impromptu lunch, the act of making time for one another - amid the busyness - is an act of attention and care that is difficult to find, particularly now.
There was no agenda. At any point, either one of us could have opted it, called it quits, and hung up the phone. Not only was there no official start time, but there was no official end time either. We recognized the value of one another's time and treated it as such.
It was transactional - and transformational. Because there was a pre-existing relationship, we moved past the pleasantries and got down to business. We asked, "How are you?" but also, "What do you need?" We didn't stand on pretense and tiptoe around the ways we could support one another in this moment. And reciprocally, we weren't offended by the ask. As a result, the exchange was not only transactional (we both got something), it was also transformational (our practice - and our people - got something too).
We identified next steps. There was clear agreement of what our next touch point would look like and when it would happen. In the same way our face-to-face exchanges can be anticipated, our virtual connection points can and should be as well. Just because we're not on-site doesn't mean we can't be on-mind.
The next day I was writing on my back patio when the flowers pictured below arrived as a thank you. This gesture of appreciation is still lighting me up weeks later. Our call was about more than just checking in or catching up; it was about truly keeping touch.
What connections are keeping you energized and growing? 🔗
Remaining socially distant should not mean losing touch.
We need points of connection now more than ever.