Three Ways to Cultivate Authentic Connection

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Written by: Amy Collette

Amy loves to work with people who make a positive impact. Amy is a Book Coach, Founder of Unleash Your Inner Author, and the Author of The Gratitude Connection. Amy helps changemakers on their journey to become published authors.

I believe people crave more connection, especially after surviving a world-wide pandemic. Statistics show that we feel more isolated than ever. So connection may be the most valuable skill that humans can share and receive.

“Stay human” is the tagline of Michael Franti’s band, which my husband and I were lucky enough to see recently. Franti connects with his audience by wandering out into the crowd with his guitar, making eye contact and sharing smiles. To me, his message is, “Stay connected.”

He began by sharing personal stories while strumming a little tune on his guitar. Franti was very vulnerable, talking about being given up for adoption, being adopted into his family, and sharing about his experience with loss, grief, and love. People in the audience were absolutely silent and captivated, putting a hand on their heart or hugging the person next to them. What’s happening is that he placed us in the present moment. There was nothing else going on, just focus on that story and how it made us feel. And then he sang the songs that followed the stories. Over the two hours of the concert, I saw people connect to themselves and others through Franti’s message of universal love. 

The way he shows up for his audience illustrates what it’s like to live your values in what you do in the world, in his case as a musician, songwriter, and storyteller. I think all of us can relate to the idea of storytelling in our books and in our businesses.

Three important concepts from this experience that I have taken into both my personal and business life are:

  1. Connect to Yourself. I think staying human means learning to connect with ourselves to accept and love everything from our mistakes to our highest achievements. Connecting to yourself means appreciating the little things, like your unique sense of humor, passion, and perspective. Consider making a list (right now!) of things you like about yourself.  
  2. Authentically Live Your Values. Franti mentioned that his songs weren’t always about peace and love. But over time, he got clear on how he wanted to live for himself and show up for others. Now he wears that on his sleeve and makes it evident in every song, every post, every interaction. Pure authenticity is a great business model. It makes every decision you make very simple. “Does this fit my values? Does it speak to who I am and what I want to shine out in the world?”
  3. Boldly Express Your Uniqueness. To take Franti’s example, look at his social media posts, videos, and songs to get a sense of his joyous energy. He exudes a consistently positive message of love and connection, or as he says, “staying human.” I think expressing yourself starts on a personal level, and then you can bring that into all aspects of your life. Making your messaging clear leaves no doubt about who you are, what you stand for, and how you make a positive impact.
  4. Bonus! Connect with Humans. When you’re connected with yourself and your values and you can express your uniqueness, now you’re ready to take your show on the road. You can vulnerably connect through your writing or a song or a simple conversation.

When I’m clear on my values, I can comfortably speak my mind in a way that shows my passion and unique take on things. When I embrace my connection with myself, it becomes easy to stay present and connect with others. The authors we most love to read do this through their stories. And by connecting with their stories, we connect with similar aspects of ourselves.

If you desire more connection in your life, connect with yourself, live your values, and express your uniqueness. These will help you connect to other humans to build and nurture healthy relationships.

I hope these ideas help you to bring these concepts into your life to truly connect with yourself and with your audience. When you are being authentic, you show others how to do the same, and connect us all.

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