3 min read

Crisis puts distance between us, with or without physical distancing. A lot of us cope by withdrawing and isolating ourselves. Validating the story we tell ourselves that we are the only ones feeling overwhelming emotions like grief, sadness, depression, anxiety etc. 

Connection helps us to…

  1. Realize we aren’t alone and establish a “same team” dynamic
  2. Celebrate our humanity, including the vulnerable bits
  3. Cultivate safety and ease (engaging our parasympathetic nervous systems)
  4. Be in a creative, open mindset

Hint: These are all great ways to start effective meetings!

The Ripple Effect

In hopes to maintain respect from others we hide our struggle, mistaking vulnerability for weakness. This is where inauthentic connection multiplies. For example, one-upping or general performative comments that expose status. When you put your mask on, most others do too. And the one’s who can’t relate, and/or value integrity and realness, are left feeling othered and frustrated.

Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but the key to connection...

…and connection helps navigate and process times of uncertainty. This is the ripple effect we need right now!

Welcoming the Full Human Experience

But how can we engage in connection in a way that welcomes the full human experience, normalizing the light and the dark, the good and the bad? After all, we have the capacity to experience pleasure alongside grief- dichotomies live within us all the time.

Below are a few questions to use in your next team meeting or 1:1 that are sure to give us a better snapshot of someone’s full experience and create authentic connection. (Ideally these answers are not work related.)

Prompts for Connection

For more on this check out Esther Perel, a renowned couples therapist’s latest blog, “Questions That Meet People Where They Are Now“.

Vulnerability Begets Vulnerability

If you are considering bringing these prompts to your team, consider going first to set the standard once you’ve introduced that you want to try something new. And if you notice someone isn’t climbing the vulnerability ladder with you, don’t jump off, just step down one rung and try to relate in a way that feels comfortable for them.

Thank you for your brave and courageous acts to authentically connect with others. It is a huge step in creating a more inclusive, psychologically safe, and thriving team. If you or your team wants to improve upon your current interpersonal or team dynamics, I am currently accepting new clients.

Contact info Sarah Howard workplace culture sales enablement

Sarah is an Integral Sales Coach and Consultant with a mission to create more inclusive and thriving sales teams. She is currently offering a free needs assessment and initial consultation. Check out her services page and get in touch! sarah@sarahhoward.com