That’s the word I’ve chosen to focus on for February at Blue Jai Creative — not least because here in the Great Southern Land, summer has heralded its annual leave-taking with hot and humid weather. The Silly Season and its many distractions are over, New Year’s Resolutions have (hopefully) taken hold, and our children have dutifully trouped off back to school for the year.
It’s time to get back into the swing of things. To ramp up our efforts. To take the plunge.
It’s time to connect.
Since February began, however, I have realised that there’s not much point in doing any of these things unless our actions are focused. And now is the perfect time to paint a clear picture in our mind’s eye of what we might want to achieve in the upcoming year — hence, my word of the month and my current plan:
Connect with people. They are our most valuable and — frequently — most overlooked resource. Call someone who is a positive presence in your life, and when you’ve had an uplifting chat, pay it forward if you can — even if it’s just by smiling at a stranger. Find a mentor. Thank a supporter. Ask a colleague for help if you need it. Compliment someone. And connect especially with your clients; listen to what they have to say, and let what you hear help you map out your plans.
Connect with your inner voice. Know what your First Principles are, the guiding tenets that keep you and your journey on track. For example, my First Principles (which revolve around words, music, and food) remind me to keep on creating, to listen to things that bring me joy and peace, and to eat well so I can sustain myself properly. Living and working in alignment with your own First Prinicples will always bring you greatest satisfaction, because you will be living and working authentically.
Connect with what inspires you. In the normal, real world, what you do for work may not take you to dizzying heights of bliss. For many of us, some or even much of what we do can feel repetitive or mundane. Taking the time to seek inspiration — whether it’s playing a particular song, baking a cake, reading, swimming in the ocean, getting up early to see the sunrise, updating your vision board, taking a walk in the rain, or whatever else delights you — can help to keep you motivated to turn up and take the next step.
Connect the dots. No matter how winding the path you take, make sure that each step along the way is bringing you closer to your goals. Connecting the dots helps you bring perspective to your decision making and can help you stay the course when you feel discouraged or distracted. And if you’ve already connected with people, your inner voice and what inspires you, you’ll already know that the quality of your journey is just as important (if not more so) as wherever you’re hoping to get to.
Focusing on this one word (talking about it, reading about it, writing about it, in alignment with my own First Principles) has made me realise that throughout history, around the world, and across every discipline of human endeavour, some of our deepest and most innovative thinkers have all been saying the same thing: we are all connected.
Here’s what Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) had to say during the Renaissance:
To develop a complete mind, study the science of art, study the art of science, learn how to see. Realise that everything connects to everything else.
Or the Upanishads, the ancient Sanskrit texts that inform much of Hinduism, written in India six centuries BCE:
Who sees all beings in his own self and his own self in all beings, loses all fear.
During the Romantic era the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) wrote, “I am a part of all that I have met”, while in the twentieth century the Vietnamese Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh (born 1926) reminded us that, “We are all the leaves of one tree; we are all the waves of one sea.”
Perhaps, in more recent years, it has fallen to the scientists to spell things out in their usual succinct fashion. In the words of American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson:
We are all connected — to each other biologically, to the Earth chemically, to the rest of the universe atomically.
Or, as Nikola Tesla (1816-1943) — inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist and futurist — summed it up even more simply when he said “We are all one.”
We all make these journeys — weaving in and out of each others’ worlds and crossing each others’ paths along the way. We’re all doing the same thing, each day, to take the steps to get us to where we want to be. We really are all connected.
And should these words of mine, spiralling out into cyberspace, connect with you today, may you discover connections with people who support you, with experiences that inspire you, with the guidance within you, and every last dot along the way.