Creating a Circle of Connection

Today I am reflecting on my value of connection and the impact it has in my life and in my work.

My clients come to coaching for various reasons, but once they arrive many realize they desire the connection that comes from deep friendships. However, even though we crave connections, we often feel that it is trivial to focus in this area. In some ways the explosion of online dating sites has helped people feel more comfortable dedicating time and money to the search for a romantic partner. But when it comes to friendships, we believe it should just happen naturally.

Hiring a coach to talk about getting a new job is one thing, but to talk about having more or better friendships? Well I would like to jump on my soap box and say that focusing on friendships is a key to a more fulfilling life. I know this to be true because I have lived it.

I have written before about how my life changed at the age of 30 when my marriage ended. When I was in that relationship I had a few close friends and that seemed to be just fine. But embarking on life as a single woman made me realize the value of friendships.

I often joke that when we were kids it was so easy to just go up to someone on the playground and say “hey wanna play?” As adults we often worry about whether someone will like us or reject our offer of friendship. And in the busy world we live in it can seem hard to find time for family let alone friends. Where do I even find new friends many people ask?

Many of my friends I met through work. One of the things I love most about fundraising is the people who are passionate, outgoing, fun, and who wake up each morning ready to make an impact in the world. I always felt at home in this work because it matched my values and therefore it provided a great opportunity to meet people. So I went out to lunch with my co-workers and spent time getting to know them and eventually our friendships moved beyond the office.

I also tried new activities and tried to choose things that had a social component. I am not a team sport kind of girl so I joined a clinic at the Running Room. Since we can all run by ourselves I figured the people there would be keen to make friends. And I was right! There is a definite bonding experience in showing up for an 8am run on a cold Sunday morning. Each week I eagerly looked forward to our early morning runs that were soon followed by brunches and many amazing friendships were created.

Recently during a session with my coach, she pointed out how often I speak of my women friends and how they support and love me. They have been amazing resources as I have started my own business. They cheer loudly for me in success and offer support in times of worry or failure. They really listen, they offer advice, they make me laugh, and I always have someone willing to try and new activity with me. They make my life better in countless ways.   

It made me reflect on the many paths I took to create this life and these friendships for myself. Because I did create it. In coaching we often reflect on success and ask “who did I have to be to create this?” I was open, authentic, friendly, supportive, and willing to try new things. My friendships add value to my life and therefore I make them a priority.

I would love for you to share your stories about friendship. What does it mean to you? How do you make new friends? What makes you a good friend? Let’s share and deepen our connection with each other.

© 2010 – 2011, Janice Cunning. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this posting if you include my contact information. Please contact me if you wish to reprint any portion of it in any periodical or on a website

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About Janice Cunning

As a certified coach and fundraiser, I am passionate about partnering with people and teams to increase their personal and professional Joy Quota.

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