Harness the Current

Access Continuum’s Leadership Model for leading through novel unknowns

Continuum Consulting Services LLC

I’m lucky to have a lot of sisters, most of which I am close to. But since moving to Portland, Oregon, they are not nearby nor are the friendships I’ve created over a lifetime. Sure, we can connect on Zoom but it’s not the same. It’s not physical and volumes are lost.

Ann Patchett, author of the memoir Truth and Beauty, reminded me what I am missing. She chronicles her friendship with fellow writer Lucy Grealy, author of Autobiography of a Face.

Patchett and Grealy shared graduate school, apartments, a common career, and a common love for “truth and beauty” in literature and in life. In their deep connection, what emerges is the honesty and vulnerability—the humanness—that such a relationship engenders.

The Great Hunger

People are hungry to congregate right now, but that hunger, at least for me, is growing increasingly selective. Sure, I’ve gotten to know my neighbors during this pandemic, but what is missing is the gold of a tribal web, that is, a safety net of like-minded others I don’t have to explain my worldview to because it is theirs too; who aren’t afraid to talk about what matters.

This “gold” is what marketers strive for, what branding is all about, what mailing lists and followers, and creating “customers for life” is built on. It’s that gold, and suddenly, all the business buzzwords drop away and it seems so simple.

The Marketer’s Secret

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As a small business owner, I’ve been focused on marketing lately. Recently, I compiled an 80-name list from my contacts. That list includes clients, friends, former students, and people I’ve met in passing but with whom I had an instant connection. In the world of marketing, this is my mailing list.

But it’s more than that to me. I know intuitively that this list is my gold, not only professionally but also personally. I thrive on deep conversations and these I have had with everyone on this list. I know each of them personally.

My gold was there all along. Now, I’m ready to mine it.

How to Mine the Gold

Each of us has a “quantum field” of relationships that spin a web of gold around our lives. Our task is to mine that web and that gold.

In compiling my list, I’ve emailed or called people I haven’t communicated with in years, sometimes out of the blue. More than once, an old friend has said, “I’m so glad you called!” This is the power of mining the gold.

To mine your gold:

  • Create a list of everyone you know—from your email list, your phone contacts, the business cards you’ve collected over the years
  • Cull your list so that it includes only those you have a deep connection with, or sense that you could have a deep connection.
  • Identify those who live close geographically and put that list where you can see it—on the fridge, a bulletin board, your computer screen—and reach out to those on the list for regular socially-distanced visits.
  • Reach out to others on your list via email or text to schedule a time to reconnect by phone or Zoom.
  • Connect, again and again and again.

May you find the gold—of kindness, honesty and humanness—that connects us all.

In the end, that is all that matters.

M. Carolyn Miller, MA, is a strategic partner with Continuum Consulting Services, LLC. An award-winning writer and senior instructional designer, Carolyn designs creative learning experiences.