The Power of Personal Connection
Recently, I decided to practice what I preach and get uncomfortable. It started with delivering a talk on ‘the power of branding’ to a group of business owners. I then reactivated my presence in an online community I had left, because I had felt inadequate and undeserving of being there. You might be (pleasantly) shocked to hear what happened.
An extrovert I am not. 'Speaker' does not feature on my CV. Yet here I was, standing in front of a group of strangers, having been invited to speak, putting myself in the spotlight as ‘the expert’!
I didn't sleep well the night before and I had a major tension headache as a result. As the event progressed I knew my time was coming to speak... and that I was being recorded!
Then, I heard the lovely host start my introduction.
Standing awkwardly, I couldn't quite believe it was me she was introducing. Hearing my credentials read out, I suddenly felt I did belong on this spot, that I had something important to offer. What followed was my talk - without notes (I can't work with them) and an amazing amount of support, appreciation and a hunger for more from the attendees. They connected with my words. My story. Me.
Putting it on the Internet
My second move was to reactivate my presence in an online community I had been a part of for a while. A community I initially joined for business purposes, but has since seen the birth of many a friendship, in real life, virtually and spanning oceans and time zones.
This reactivation took the form of a long post sharing something very personal about myself. Something that, in essence, is the core of me and influences everything I do, including in business.
I sat, nervously typing, then deleting my words. Censoring the responses I thought I would receive, the judgements that might be made, whether I was ready to even share these things.
Several deletions later I hit ‘share’ and then this happened.
118 people (at last count) ‘reacted’ to my post and 83 people replied to me. 80 of these people I have never spoken to before, have never worked with and have never met. Yet each and every one of these people, from reacting to commenting, took the time to talk to me. To send me positive thoughts, love and above all, understanding.
The connection I felt to these people, who only hours before were strangers, is more powerful than anything I’ve felt before. A post typed in the car park of a DIY store opened up the floodgates to not only new friends, but a family. A family I had been a part of all along, but to who I hadn’t let myself be seen.
I had held back on the connection by some self-perceived protection mechanism.
This is not turning into the Vicky show, but it struck me hard and in a good way. This beautiful community had my back, they were there for me, I was being loved and accepted, not judged. The whole messy, complicated, work-in progress me. And the best part? They started to share too.
By the end of Sunday I was forming new friendships in private messages, helping others, and discovering things about my new friends that I would never had known had I not been able to share something of me too.
With both examples, I realised what I was doing was more than delivering a talk or sharing a secret. I was creating a community. Creating connections that would otherwise not have been made. Giving people permission to say 'me too' and 'I am seen, heard and worthy'. To take another step forward in their Journey To Them.
I realised that, even in our lowest and darkest place, there is always somewhere to turn, someone who will understand and be willing to help. I want to give you that place and be that person for you.
Whilst I don't run a private community at the moment, I invite you to join me here, and to share your thoughts on my musings and support each other in the comments.
The world can sometimes feel a small and lonely place, but I am here to remind you that it can be as big and loving as you need it to be. All you need do is open the doors. To you. To your business. To your purpose. To your Journey To You.
Always here for you,
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