Someone asked me lately, does anyone know your inside reality? I wasn’t sure if anyone knew me, except my spouse and my mother. I doubt I am alone. We live in a world where posting snippets of our lives and sharing our successes overrides the struggles, like needing to do the dishes when exhausted.
There once was a salesman who figured out that the average person has 250 people who are truly in their inner circle. This includes friends, neighbors, classmates, family, and co-workers. I still believe that is true despite the number of people who Facebook and other social media platforms say are my friends.
Over the last few weeks, I began to feel like I didn’t even know the first thing about some of the people in my network as the number of my social media connections increase. Thus, I committed time for actionable engagement to change that. I now set aside several hours a week to ask questions of my newest connections.
What I am learning is there are some pretty amazing people in my network accomplishing notable achievements that no one notices. I am also experiencing situations with some people who are hesitant to reveal information about themselves including work titles, their favorite hobbies or the name of their city or country where they reside.
I began to ask myself, “When did we get to this place where the people we refer to as friends are not people who connect with us as human beings?” They may tell you, there are only two or three degrees of separation. That may be true. However, if the first connection is weak, how strong are the second and third connections going to be? We are realistically attached by a tiny thread. We are connected because they are linked electronically to other people in our network with the label “friends” who also don’t know us, individually very well. This pattern of finding friends is repeated. It is no wonder people are craving realism and connection because the loneliness is killing us. It is lonesome because many of us don’t share our inside reality, including me.
I recently heard people in my network say that they smile if they hear I failed to return a call, if I was late to a meeting, or had some other faux pas in my day. It isn’t because they wanted me to fail, rather they needed to see I was human and I make mistakes, too. They wanted to know I was just like them. This awareness was a wake-up call for me. I thought I was being open and honest with the people in my life and I was.
However, I noticed I was more vocal about my successes than my missteps and my struggles to get to my achievements. For example, I didn’t share the time I spent playing hooky from work, watching videos because I wasn’t motivated to make sales calls. Or the three doctor’s appointment I am attending this week because I am a woman approaching menopause which is causing some havoc in my life. You will not see pictures of me at my computer, sitting in frustration with a deadline approaching, and an unscheduled system update suddenly shutting it off.
I decided it was time for a change and I have made it a point over these last few months to show up on stage and in meetings as me. One of my big changes is to do this without wearing any make-up. I am done putting on a face for the public when dealing with the consequences behind closed doors. What many people don’t know is makeup makes my face swell and my eyes red and itchy. When the event is over, and I get home at night I can’t sleep. My body is struggling with the choices I made earlier in the day to appear as they expected me to appear even though it was medically a bad decision.
Then, I started testing if it was okay to show up without makeup. I will tell you, not one person, at least to my face, has said anything to me about not wearing make-up. I am learning it is okay to show-up as me in every moment. This one change has given me the ability to connect better with others because I am not paying the price later. I engage better in the conversations, as I am more confident without makeup than with make-up because I know it is the right choice for me. It also becomes the right choice for my relationships.
Life is good because of the people in our lives and the interactions we have with them. Create space and time for them. Let them see at least some of who you are on the good days and on the bad days. If you need any inspiration, I will be there doing the same thing in my network.
When you connect with someone on social media take a moment to say hello, learn about them and their reality. If a neighbor moves in down the street, go walk down their house or apartment and give them a warm welcome. More importantly, be present in the moments of your life. People crave it and they deserve to see your inside reality. You will be freer, happier, and love life more because you have chosen to make deeper connections.
VIP Woman on the Year Circle of Excellence 2016-2017 and 2017-2018
Best of the Springs – Nominee 2017 and 2018
Who’s Who Women of Excellence 2017
Women Who Soar 2017
L’Oreal Woman of Worth – Nominee 2017