Share the Gift of Connection

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Mahatma Ghandi

How many times have you read this quote? How many times have you read or heard a quote and thought, “Yes! This resonates with me!” Now, how many times have you absorbed a quote into your daily being and it no longer is a quote that just resonates with you but is you?

I am someone who does a lot of reflection throughout my day. I have no idea if it’s more or less than the average. That’s irrelevant. What is relevant is the action I take as a result of my reflections which brings me back to this particular quote. Read it again. Think about it for a moment. Dive into the words for a longer moment. What does it mean to you?

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Here’s my story about what it means to me.

I have read this quote a number of times in my life. Each time, it reminded me to ask myself if I am the change I want to see in the world. If you think about it deeply, that can feel like a big and overwhelming task! But of course, it doesn’t have to be.

I imagine we have different ideas and missions when we think about this quote. What is your change you want to see in the world? Mine? It is to live each day spreading love, kindness, gratitude, and positivity by reaching out to connect, uplift, and serve others.

I am deeply passionate about three things: friends and family, ringette, and being an educator. These are centered around people, making connections, building relationships, and being an active part of a community. I love ALL of it – plus the feelings of welcomeness, friendship, and belonging that go with it.

I view many things as gifts. Every day is a gift. Every relationship is a gift. Every connection is a gift. Time is a gift. What pulls this idea plus my passions all together is this: PEOPLE are gifts to me – how they influence and inspire me, affect me, and love me, all give me the strength to live my calm days and my busiest of days. I am so very grateful to all and how we are connected.

Every interaction is a gift. It is an opportunity to touch someone’s life and to make it better. Uplift their hearts or their souls… or both!

Recently, there were a few things that made me realize that it is time to share something that has been on my mind and my heart. It has been a slow realization and that’s okay but now it has grown to be something I want more than just to hope for and wish to see in the world. I feel a stronger need to move from passive to active.

A few weeks ago during our Teach Better Administrator Mastermind, I was called an “ULTIMATE #reacherouter” by my good friend, Brad Hughes (@brad_hughes). It truly warmed my heart to see those words shared in the chat and have it affirmed by others. Soon after, that’s when it hit me. I was living the “change I wish to see in the world”. What dawned on me shortly after was this: It is now time to do more. I need to go beyond just hoping and wishing that others do the same so if I want to make more of a difference in this world, I need to shout it out. Louder!

As I listen to messages I receive from others and learn more about myself in the process, I am discovering more common themes in what I share regularly. Things like encouraging others to reach out to connect, seeing through a lens of positivity, acknowledging our daily gifts, and practicing gratitude are all important! I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to speak about these in a podcast episode with my good friend, Lindsay Titus, on Define YOUniversity in Episode 36: Share Your Story series.

Seeing connections as gifts have given me the courage to reach out to initiate conversations, take opportunities to start relationships, build rapport, and deepen connections that have turned into new and amazingly fulfilling friendships! Most of these were all relationships fostered virtually. The list of people I can now name as friends because I took the initiative to reach out is plenty! And each day, I feel truly blessed and so grateful for my new friends… many of which are affiliated with the Teach Better Team, which I am a passionate Ambassador and as of yesterday, the new Digital Content Editor! Love everyone on the team so much!

Now think back to a time when someone unexpectedly reached out to you. It might have been at a time you were tired, sad, or struggling with something. Perhaps you received an appreciation for something you did. Regardless, how wonderful did that feel to know someone was thinking about you and took that extra step to contact you? Did it touch or warm your heart? I bet it did! In fact, this happened to me just over a week ago! I was feeling exhausted at the end of the night but still had to plan our PD session. Just minutes after I was on Dave Burgess’ website looking up his 5-word GPS idea, he happened to reached out! Through our conversation, he offered something that far surpassed my wildest dreams, and instantly, my sense of overwhelm turned into excitement and my heart was full of gratitude. What a gift I was given. What a gift we were given. It was the gift of time and connection that inspired us all when he spoke live. His message will continue to inspire us for the remainder of the year! So grateful!

We are busy people. We always find more on our plate than we have time for. It’s a fine balancing act that constantly changes as our day rolls on. I recently learned about committing to spend 30 minutes on what we are passionate about on Brendon Burchard’s podcastHow to Achieve an Action Mindset and Stay Disciplined. 30 minutes is like 2% of our day. How long does it take to reach out to connect with someone? Far less than 30 minutes most of the time!

CHALLENGE: TAKE ACTION! When someone pops into your mind, there’s a reason. Some may call it a sign. So spend two minutes to act on it! Send them a short message to let them know you are thinking about them or why you are grateful for them. It may be just what they needed at that time on that day. Two minutes in a day equates to 0.14% of your whole day. I daresay that if we were pressed to prioritize what is most important to us, most would say our friends and family. So aren’t they worth our valued time? Relationships take an investment of time. The challenge is to do this every day for a week. See what happens! Can you turn it into a daily habit?

I have been told many times when I reached out that my timing was impeccable and that it was something they so needed to hear, be it my appreciation, positivity, encouragement, love, or kind words. Let me tell you… each time I have reached out, I have received a deeper connection in return. In my experience, the time I spent pouring into someone else has come back to me in ways that filled my heart manyfold. That is the power of connection! Simply priceless! Go reach out and make someone else’s day brighter! YOU can give the gift of connection, the gift of love, and the gift of your words.

Let’s bring us back to the quote again and review what is in a typical day. This quote is all about relationships. Remember, every day is a gift. Our connections can be broken down into our daily interactions. From the moment you wake up, typically your loved ones you see first, then colleagues at school, next parents and students. Afterward, it might be employees at the businesses you frequent before you retreat back to your loved ones at home be it in person or virtually. Think about the numerous interactions you had over the course of the day. How many opportunities were there to spread your love, kindness, and positivity? How many opportunities can you take to make someone’s day brighter by reaching out to check-in, uplift, or show appreciation? We don’t have to wait for people to pop into our minds like in our challenge above. Here’s a second challenge: EVERY interaction is an opportunity, take it in the moment!

Reflect to discover what is that change you wish to see in the world. Once you figure it out, live it in whatever way you have the capacity for – minimally or passionately. Small steps are better than no steps taken. And when you are ready, take the next step and shout it out loud and proud!

To connect is a gift you can give to others. Your words are a gift to others too.

YOU are the change you wish to see in the world through every intentional interaction. Share out what it is you wish to see. Announce it! Live by it! And ask your friends to help hold you accountable.

If something you read resonated, I would greatly appreciate it if you please reach out and leave a comment or tweet it out and tag me @LiviaChanL. Looking forward to seeing and hearing about how you created an opportunity to connect too! Be a #reacherouter!!

So grateful to you for reading,

If you are looking for a discussion on random acts of kindness versus acts of kindness, I encourage you to list to Hans and Jennifer Appel on their podcast Award Winning Culture. Listen to Episode 25: EPIC Kindness. Their podcast is on my must-listen to list every week! Click here to see how I keep track of podcast takeaways!

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