Life Lessons

Connection through Separation…

Connection looks different right now!

I’ve been wanting to post this blog for weeks now, but it keeps growing because I’m so struck by the innovative ways people are connecting!

So, putting into practice my workshop principle of “Done is Better than Perfect”, I’ve decided to say less and share more…

While we may be physically separated during lockdown, connection is certainly still happening…

  • I’m hearing stories of old school friends connecting weekly on a Zoom call after not having been together since 2011.
  • A friend was saying today that all the neighbours in her apartment block are now chatting, though they hardly knew each other before. Plus, she does daily gym sessions on her balcony with a personal trainer one floor up from her.
  • Another friend is offering online Italian cooking demonstrations, and when I joined the session, I connected with mutual friends I haven’t seen in years.
  • I’ve also had an online dance party with some other wonderful women.
  • I’ve had many more connecting telephone calls (even old-school land line calls!).
  • Virtual coffee and bubbly dates with friends.
  • Drive-by chats.  A friend drove past after she filled up with petrol around the corner from us and drove past our gate for a quick hello wave😊.
  • Family zoom calls, with an extra special one to toast my sister for her birthday.
  • And when I didn’t get to arrange a delivery gift in time for her, I created an ‘e-book’ of our special memories, including pictures, a soundtrack and even some favourite recipes. (Hmmm… I think she has enjoyed this more than many of the other gifts over the last couple of years)
  • And special virtual hugs! (There’s an art to it, by the way 😉)

On a professional level, connection has been really interesting, challenging and wonderful (sometimes all at once!).

Although I’ve been using Zoom, Skype and WhatsApp Video for coaching for a while, it’s interesting to see how ‘normal’ it is becoming with colleagues and clients.

  • I have had a couple of calls with a Johannesburg based team who usually meet in person, but because I’m based in Cape Town, if I join them I’m often the only one on Zoom. This time we were all on Zoom and I felt so much more included and part of the conversation.
  • I had a call with a London based client and associates from across the globe, and the MD (who we don’t get to see every day).  It was a great way to catch us all up on the moves they are making to offer their programmes online, to share some humour, and we all agreed that connections like this are going to be continued beyond lock down.
  • There has been an upsurge of online coaching with new and existing clients,
  • and numerous online meetings with existing clients who are used to meeting with me face to face.

Another real gift is the wide variety of free classes available online like Henley Business School offering support for small and medium businesses during this time, AND they’re including a forum for participants to continue networking beyond the classes. Another great way of connecting, and learning!

And while it’s definitely not the same over a screen, we have been finding ways of connecting differently.

  • One of the teams I consult to is going through some structural changes, and they are working full steam ahead through lockdown as their clients are in the food and beverage industry.  As a way of connecting (while social distancing), I circulated an email to the team where they each took a moment to acknowledge each of their team mates anonymously.  I then collated a slide for each person which I sent to them privately and the response was profound!  “Wow, I didn’t realise people saw that in me” was one of the responses. “So important right now” was another.
  • Another client, whose team is in the frontline of feeding and distributing food parcels, and who just doesn’t have time for long calls of connection and support, I sent them a short video expressing my gratitude and ongoing support.
  • A short video of encouragement to the Grade 12’s I’ve been working with for the past three years, and many voice notes and calls to ‘my’ soccer guys 😊.
  • Another video was created for the hospital staff I worked with many years ago in various different trainings.  Even though it has been a while since I last saw them, I wanted to let them know how much I appreciate them being up front right now.

Connecting differently…Two words that have such gravitas, and I think it’s going to be the ‘new normal’. 

Being clear on my purpose for connection is important to me… ‘checking in’ rather than ‘checking-up-on’ or ‘hard-sellling’. For me, this is time for human, heart and soul connection.

As a way of closing off, I wanted to share this pic of my son and his little friend from next door having an afternoon lockdown ‘playdate’. Much chatting through the window, drawing on the window, cars driving up and down the windowsill, and this beautiful connection which needs no more words. ❤️

May you and your family be safe and healthy.


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