One word: “CONNECTION”

By: Houssam Makki

Author / Speaker / Life & Leadership Coach

In one of my training sessions recently, I was teaching about the foundation of leadership; and usually when I teach, I also learn. It is just like what the American Science-Fiction writer, Robert A. Heinlein said, “When One Teaches, Two Learn.” I found that to be really true, especially that the teaching was about relationships; and this topic was relevant to all the participants in the room. You can imagine how the interaction was going on! Yes, I was teaching and I was learning a lot.

The foundation of leadership is relationships. How do you build a relationship or how do you make a relationship get stronger? Not only from a leadership perspective, but also from a general point of view; I will give you the answer and it is one word, “CONNECTION.” It is simple, yet not easy! Due to the confusion that is taking place in our world, an illusion came up that made people think that they are connecting with each other; but the truth is, they are just communicating. Communication requires no hard work; especially in the presence of the social networks; but to connect, you have to put in extra effort. First of all, because connecting with others is about feelings; and it is never about us, but about the people we are connecting with.

I came up with a simple illustration to show the difference between communicating and connecting. When I talk about the foundation of leadership, I open up my session with this exercise. Before I continue, I have to tell you that this exercise is not only applied in one specific field, but in all aspects of life. I encourage you to try this exercise with your family members, friends’ gatherings or even if you are speaking before an audience, because it will easily show the difference between communicating and connecting, deal?

What I do is: I tell the audience that we will all introduce ourselves to each other and I will start first by saying my name; then, all of them will say their names back at the same time. Once it’s done, I tell them that what just happened was communication. Then, I go towards a few individuals, shake hands with them with a short introduction; then I go back on stage and tell them what just happened is called, connection. You see, you could be a team leader, a father, a mother, elder brother or sister, or whatever your position may be; taking the initiative to connect with each and every person will be very powerful.

As I mentioned earlier, it is not easy to connect, and it requires extra effort. To connect with others, you need to:

  • Have an abundance mindset; means that you will be a giver.
  • Go to people, touch hearts and be transparent.
  • Exclude yourself from the agenda; because since you decided to connect, this means that you have to put people first.
  • Offer your support by asking them: How can I help you? and be there for them.
  • Care about them; which means to know what their goals and dreams are, give them attention and listen carefully so that you can help them achieve what they want and be a part of their success.
  • Empower them. As my mentor, John Maxwell says: “You cannot move people physically until you connect with them emotionally” and you cannot empower them until you are able to connect with them emotionally.

It may seem simple, but it is not easy; it needs practice. I evaluate my connection based on 3 levels:

  • Connection with God
  • Connection with myself
  • Connection with others

These 3 levels of connection are always linked together. Here is what I mean:

  • You cannot connect with people until you connect with yourself. Why? Because connection and feelings cannot be there without transparency. We all agree that if anything wasn’t real, we cannot feel it.
  • You cannot connect with yourself until you connect with God your creator; simply because you can find all your answers through praying and reflection. You want to know your purpose? Put your heart in God’s hands; because then only you will know where you stand and who you are. You will be real and others can feel you.
  • You cannot connect with God if you are blind! Blindness, in my definition, is not seeing God in every aspect in life.

To build strong relationships, learn how to connect.

I am Houssam Makki; I am the reborn. This is my message; and I am paying it forward to inspire others.

Be blessed,

Houssam Makki

Author / Speaker / Life & Leadership Coach

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