Connect to What Matters

Posted by Mimi Meredith at Monday, June 20th, 2011 9:58 am

It's been raining here. The kind of weather that drives you inside to read, play games and to appreciate disconnecting. So, today is the perfect day to sit outside and enjoy the freshness that only a breeze off rain-washed cedar can provide.

But here I am, writing you. Why? Well, quite honestly, because I start to miss you, and I don't want to drop out of community with you for long.

Here's the news. None of you are as important to me as I let myself think. I know that your lives don't really revolve around hearing from me. But sometimes, my ego let's me think that might be true.

I know that I could stop writing.

...and we'd all be just fine. But the communication age is a tricky web of connectivity. Texting, email, tweeting, followers, subscribers, comments...all that feels really important--vital to our success, even--and all of it feels urgent.

Two bloggers I follow, Erica Allison and Mark Schaefer have both wrestled lately with the addictive qualities of technology and social media tools. I have it a bit easier than they do, because I have fewer followers to lose when I choose to drop off your radar screen for a bit. And I know that my business doesn't really require me to be here. I long ago gave up thinking that the next CEO who will think I'm the best thing since Jim Collins reads my blog.

The thing is, the addiction to technology sabotages real relationships for all of us. I'm also pretty convinced it's driving more of us to prescriptive lenses at an earlier age...and carpal tunnel...and neck and back issues. It's funny, our grandparents came home aching from work because they worked hard in fields and shops and businesses all day. We ache because we haven't quite perfected the ergonomics of holding our cell phones or hunching over our keyboards.

I think we all live in fear missing something. We don't wait for news from neighbors, the mail man or the morning (or evening) paper anymore. We can find out now what is happening at any moment anywhere in the world...almost. If we're not surfing the internet for world news, Facebook for family news, or LinkedIn for business news (because what does it mean that Fred changed his job description again?) we're tuning into CNN or listening to NPR. And someday, maybe we'll take all this information and do some good with it. Or maybe not. In the meantime, you've lost a lot of the meantimes.

You know...those times you could be connecting with people in the flesh. Sharing a laugh or a cry. Remembering how it feels to sit in silence with a friend or listen to the stories of a teen who sees life from a completely different perspective.

Do you have clients? When was the last time you visited with them? Do their voices take on a different tone when they talk about their children...fishing...golf? Have you noticed?

Do you have friends? When was the last time you sat so long having coffee or wine with them that you had to stretch when you stood up?

Do you have family? When was the last time you chose to pick up the phone and check in with them instead of "liking" their existence on Facebook?

We make these choices. It is not technology's fault that we have connection addiction, yet have failed to maintain the connections that matter the most.

I know these things to be true...

  • Some of the people who matter most to my heart have no idea what a blog is. Many of those closest to me have no idea what my last post was about.They are the ones who would be devastated by my death, thrilled by anything that brought me joy and quick to correct my false conclusions.
  • If I quit connecting via my blog and commenting on others blogs, or updating my Facebook Page, about three people would notice. And they'd be able to replace me within a heartbeat because there are a lot of good people saying a lot of good things in the world.
  • The people who value the connection to me the most are the ones who hug me when they see me (well...I'm a pretty huggy type, so some of those might value me more than others!) I told you the story before of the woman who asked me when I was moving away from Hutchinson, Kansas, "Who will hug me now?"...

...I think that is the kind of connecting that matters.

Go hug someone. Hug yourself. Connect to a fresh breeze, a gentle thought or a long lost friend. Find a way to remind yourself what really matters before it's too late.

I just have to share this last photo with you. Here's how Greg works when he is here (he's out there this moment!). He takes virtually every call on the porch, not only because it's better reception, but because the perspective adjustment is always right there in front of him. I hope you find a way to do the same.