Connected or Not?
Oooh S..T (not every ladylike, I know) I said to myself, and hopefully not that loudly, as I realised that I have left my mobile phone in the training room on the other side of London. I am now panicking as I am due to meet an old friend in Bank tube station and I have no way of contacting her. Miraculously after trying several different exits, I find her. Over a much needed glass of wine we talk about how reliant we are on the technology and reminisce about the days when we could memorise 20 phone numbers!
Being naturally curious, I decided to use my time without my mobile phone as an experiment to notice what it is like to be disconnected!
Paradoxically, I discovered that in some ways I was more connected.
As I wait for the train to pull into the platform, instinctively I reach for my mobile phone to check my emails as all of my fellow travelers are doing – ooophs I don’t have a mobile phone – what to do? I look up at roof of the station and start to notice two birds flying about – they are ducking and driving and appear to be just messing about for the love of flying – I watch mesmerised and feel a real sense of joy as I collude with their sense of fun; the train arrives!
Now for my next challenge, I have told my husband I will ring him and let him know which train I am on so he can pick me up from the station but oooophs no mobile phone. So I start making conversation with the passenger opposite me, we have an amazing conversation about a recent trip she was on to South Africa and she recommends some interesting places for me to visit when I go next year. I borrow her mobile phone and call my husband (his is the only number I have memorised)!
The next day I am driving to Lincoln to deliver a 4 day training programme, I am nervous about taking a long trip without a mobile phone – what if something happens and no-one knows where I am? As I believe that going out of our comfort zone only serves to increase it, I decide to mitigate the risks by sending an email to the people I am meeting advising them of my arrival time and to just head off. So now I am free to enjoy the journey, uninterrupted by phone calls – to have some quality me time. After singing along (loudly and sometimes off key) to some tunes, I turn off the radio and allow myself some creative thinking time. I arrive safely in Lincoln with the answers to a couple of issues I have been procrastinating on and feeling refreshed and raring to go!
By lunch time my phone has been couriered to me and as I open the package, I feel relief tinged with a bit of regret.
This blog is not intended to promote throwing away your mobile phone, and going back in time to using old fashioned methods, such as carrier pigeons; it is more to invite you to consider how easy it is to get caught up in believing we are connecting when we are on our phones Tweeting, Facebook-ing, and Instagram-ing (to name but a few) – and of course we are to an extent.
The real question, for me, is about the quality of the connection.
To find true connection, firstly we need to connect to ourselves, to be in rapport with ourselves, to have a clear vision and purpose which is aligned with our sense of self and our beliefs and values. Once we are congruent and authentic, it is from this place we can build strong and reliable connections with others. We can influence with integrity and lead with empathy and authority.
Perhaps just pause for a moment and consider how connected are you to yourself, your team and your environment.
To find out more about my training, coaching, NLP or how horses can teach us valuable leadership lessons, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.