Can I Get a Connection?

Can I Get a Connection?

I was in the ladies room stall, when I overheard someone criticize my work. At the time, I was a
marketing consultant for a nutritional company, and I had just led part of a workshop on
healthy living and some specific tips on self-care for busy people. The criticism didn’t align with
my hopeful audience response, so I sat there, defeated, wondering if everyone felt the same

“She’s 35. How does she know real struggle? ”
“She’s thin, and has probably never struggled with her weight before. ”
“Oh, I’m sorry pageant queen, that you felt sluggish and tired all of the time. ”

I waited until they left the ladies room to gather my things and step out, and while I sat there, I
wondered, how often have I got it wrong and incorrectly judged another woman? In my
experience, it’s helpful to lift up out of the defeat or victim status into a “what can I learn here ”
status immediately. I learned that skill back when my shoes were stolen, backstage at a
pageant, and I had to shuffle around to find replacements. (Thankfully a fellow competitor had
a pair to share, and after a moment like that, you are friends forever!) Naturally, as I went to
the sink and washed my hands, in that now quiet and isolated ladies room, I considered if I’ve
ever mis-judged or mis-interpreted the situation or another person. Short answer: yes, I have.

Communication today does not equal connection. When you communicate with your audience,
you don’t necessarily connect with your audience. A connection relies on a message being
communicated and being received authentically and accurately. Current society’s truth is that
most people don’t give a message that much time. What happens, more times than not, is that
communication is sent to an audience and that audience filters the communication through its
individual life filters of preference, life experience, belief systems, and past traumas, then
blends all of it together into a message heard. The initial communication may or may not be
what is actually heard by every member of the audience. Your focus should still be on simply
sharing your message. Communicate authentically and let everyone decide how they want to
hear you. In my book, High Performance Detox, I suggest it this way: Perform your best and let
go of the rest. It’s a skill that doesn’t come naturally, because as children, we demand to be
heard until we get the reaction we need. As adults, we’ve learned that demanding something of
another person doesn’t work well.

Most of us fall within the ebb and flow of this desire (connection) and reality
(misunderstanding.) We want people to hear us and understand us, but we also know that we
don’t have the same perspectives, life experiences, and beliefs as everyone, too. Some days it
works out, and other days, there is some congestion. Share your stories anyway! Through my
career experience, I’ve learned that our power is in our stories, so whether you are trying to
connect in yoga class, at brunch, at a fundraiser, or at a social gathering, keep sharing! For a
season of my life, it felt as though the critics got really loud -crippling loud -and it became
easier to simply stop sharing. Yes, the quiet was soothing, but after some time, it was also
lonely. As I stopped sharing, to avoid criticism, I blocked the connections too -the precious and fulfilling, genuine connection with others. When I stepped back out to continue sharing my
voice, I felt alive again.

What a breath of fresh air! The critics were still there, but they were
hushed behind the fulfillment of authentic communicating and sharing. With each critic,
genuine connection came, too. With each misunderstanding, came new awareness, too. With
each negative comment (overheard or said directly) came someone who was grateful they
found a person whose story resonated with theirs. Keep sharing! As with yoga, it’s a practice, so
don’t take any of it too seriously. Simply show up, share your stories, be authentic, and leave
the rest up to the universe to work out. If someone misunderstands or criticizes you, clarify if
you can, but give them grace. It’s out of your control, anyway. Within our control is how we
show up and communicate each day, eager for a connection, but okay with being authentic to

Five Quick Ways to Step Out and Authentically Share

1. Start with your family & friends (or closer circle) and share something great that’s
happening in your life
2. Ask someone to share their story with you
3. Spend time alone to really know who you are
4. When you do share, own it -own who you are!
5. Find common ground and look for “me too ” opportunities

As I tell my yoga classes, have fun with it and practice every day! This world needs more people
authentically connecting. Start where you are, and connect from there.