Inspiration and lessons for your leadership journey!
“Somehow we’ve allowed our relationship to gadgets and things to overtake our real-world ties. We’ve forgotten how to rescue each other.”
Our quote today comes from this year’s commencement address at The Harker School, an elite private school in Silicon Valley. The interesting back-story to the electrifying speech is that the students voted on who would give the address. What’s interesting about their choice? At the age of 25 Nipun Mehta walked away from a lucrative career in high-tech, to dedicate his life to being a “volunteer.” He has been called the ‘antithesis of self-serving.’ His comments centered around giving, receiving, and generosity. What he said to the graduates could be directed at any of us.
For example, just the other day, we were having dinner at a restaurant. At the table next to us were a couple and their very young child having dinner, too. He couldn’t have been any older than five or six. And there he was, playing a video game on a cell phone (for all around to hear) almost the entire dinner. I’m not sure he even ate. It was without a doubt, not the best example of “quality time.” Unfortunately, we all experience situations like this more and more all the time.
Nipun said that “we live in an era where Facebook has spawned 150 billion “connections,” as we collectively shell out 4.5 billion likes on status updates, every single day.” And yet, despite the incredible power of our cell phones, iPads, and computers, we risk isolating ourselves from each other and could be teaching our children to isolate themselves, as well.
The question isn’t whether using the internet and gadgets are inherently destructive to our relationships and well-being, but, “What is the quality of our relationships?”
(In fact, research shows that for most people, the internet has a positive effect on well-being. The caution: one study indicates that if you are already having problems psychosocially, internet use will only make it worse.)
We are born to connect and belong – to be in relationship. And, it is relationships that make organizations – whether the organization is the simple dyad of a marriage or the complex web of relationships in a large business or institution. Stephen Covey says, “An organization is made up of individuals that have a relationship and a shared purpose” [italics in the original].
In the opening quote to Chapter 7-Relationships, in in A Travel Guide to Leadership, Ben Stein gets it right on: “Personal relationships are the fertile soil from which all advancement, all success, all achievement in real life grows.”
At work, healthy relationships are associated with all kinds of positive outcomes including group cohesion, productivity, job performance, and well-being. An employee’s relationship with the leader, their boss, can be the single most important relationship at work.
The opposite of that, social isolation, is destructive. In addition to the loss of the enriching experiences and growth that relationships give us, the research clearly demonstrates that social isolation predicts mortality from all causes.
Our relationships with each other are crucial to our well-being and success. Show your love; don’t just say it.
Build your real-world ties today.
Tell Someone You Love Them
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Alan Mikolaj is a a professional, experienced, positive, and passionate speaker, leadership and organizational development consultant, change agent, author, and coach. He holds his Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Sam Houston State University. He is a certified graduate coach from Coaching Out of the Box and holds his ACC and membership with the International Coaching Federation (ICF).
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In his third book, A Travel Guide to Leadership, Alan offers you simple, fundamental, and powerful lessons that have the power to transform you, your relationships, and your career.