Connecting the Dots

Human Connection Is Everything.

In the over forty years of my life, I have been changing, growing and unknowingly trying to make meaningful connections along the way.  At times, most times, I was too uptight and unaware of where to look. I felt a disconnect from my emotions and my purpose. I now understand the bigger picture.  A big part of my revelation is being open to seeking the missing connections. “Ignite Happy” helped me put it all together and is positioned to teach others how to connect in new ways that are the most meaningful to them.

In the day-to-day, many people struggle to find purpose.  There is this innate need to connect, that is being ignored by many.  Once we get to a higher state of connection, we have a better ability to live our life the way we choose.  Sometimes we need to believe it before we can live it. In the Book of Joy, The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu highlighted that “love and connection are all we need and is our state of being.”  Finding links to meaning and relationships drive our interdependence and higher purpose.

Starting to understand ourselves is essential for connection.  It is difficult to find understanding if we are programmed to suppress specific thoughts or emotions.  We need to evolve and continuously change to ignite deep connection and thrive. For example, take a pass on letting your mood turn based on what people are posting on social media.  Figuring out what matters most to us will connect us in seemingly disjointed ways. In these connections, we find the intersection of playful and possible.

Try Seeing Life From Different Points Of View While Taking In The Vividness Around You.

I have made it a personal mission to expand my circle of connections while allowing people to be their full selves.  I have come to realize that taking in more of the vivid life around me has brought me authentic and fulfilling joy. It was right in front of me the whole time. I challenge you to leverage your full mind and to see things openly and fully.  Seek joy in yourself, from others and the seemingly random things all around you.  

Have you ever heard the adage that we only use 10% of our brains?  Science tells us our minds can continue to expand. We have the physical ability to explore and learn in new ways that enable us to make unexplainable, and surprising connections. As kids, we were full of wonder.  When you combine these two words, you form a new and powerful word; that word is won-der-ful. As adults this gives me hope that we can re-ignite the child-like wonder and creativity that fade throughout our adult lives.   

I am going to be straight with you. Part of this journey will challenge you to do different things.  I often talk about seeing life from different views and taking everything in around you at once. When listening to music, do you listen to only the drummer in the song?  Likely not. Putting all the sounds together from a full band sparks the magic that is greater than each musician’s parts. Isolation limits our possibilities. Just imagine if you could open your mind a little bit more every day “create your rock band of happiness.”   

It (Happiness) Is Inside And All Around Us. Make The Connections To Ignite Your Happy. 

I am happiest when I see other people genuinely happy and smiling.  There is a glow you see in someone who has tapped into their inner joy.  Seeing people take purposeful action and watching them experience a paradigm shift in the way they see the world is inspiring.  The “it” factor happens when people find their “inner happiness” through transformational change. New thinking leads to a whole new view of what life can be.  It is about your dreams, not anyone else’s. 

 I am looking to wake people up to what can happen when you choose to pursue happiness. Igniting Happiness begins from within. I encourage you to see a life of what is possible.  I aim to inspire people to work on themselves; to find their “it” and to have the commitment to pursue it (no pun intended).   

We all deserve happiness based on our definition. Let’s create a ripple effect of positive change, one “me” at a time.  For starters, think of something you are grateful or thankful for when you awake each day and begin connecting your day with positive thoughts. 

Upside Down: Results First, People Second

Imagine if you could live your passion as an avenue to connect with people.

I LOVE numbers. So much so that a majority of my roles at the beginning of my career focused on numbers and results. As time passed, my interests changed, and although I still love numbers, they aren’t the force in my career choices they once were. After twenty years of experience in Corporate America, I saw a need to translate these numbers and critical business metrics into a more understandable business language; into a human language. All in the spirit of making connections for people to contribute value in ways that make them proud.

Then one day it hit me like a 2″ x 4″. Not only did I feel a fundamental change, I saw others deliver in ways I had never seen before, and in ways, I never could have imagined. It was then when I realized the power in showing a genuine interest in connecting with others. It was then when I realized the power …connecting with others can spark amazing change from within.

I had it backward. Treating people like tools or robots to achieve results is out-dated and shows limited thinking. It is the wrong way to look at things. If you believe your people drive results, then unleash them and you might be surprised what happens. This is limited thinking and that is powered by the connection of people, not robotsResults first, not people had me upside down. I began to understand that my love of numbers was an avenue to connect with people. I now LOVE helping people more than anything else, especially helping people connect their dots, so they thrive. What started as a love of connecting numbers as an unsolved puzzle has transformed into connecting people with life’s abundant opportunities. My learning? Focus on people throughout the journey to bring out their best self and have the belief that amazing results will follow.

People will amaze you in unexpected ways if you allow them to.

Thinking back to my childhood for a minute, I have come to realize I was ready at an early age to bring people together in ways I was unable to comprehend at the time. I started my first “company” at the age of nine, with a couple of my closest neighborhood friends, JK, and Bugger. It was my second job at the time. I was the paperboy for the neighborhood, including the street I lived on, Sylvan Avenue. Have you ever seen people at their front door after they just woke up and before a cup of coffee, looking for their paper? It is quite a sight. Some wore bathrobes and others barely dressed at all when checking to see if their morning news was ready for perusing. My neighbors looked so disheveled and out of touch. To deflect the awkwardness, I tried to think about what gave each of my neighbors the enthusiasm to get up in the morning. What made each of them happy? Then, with the brazenness of a nine-year-old boy, I just decided to find out. I enlisted JK and Bugger and found a solution. Soon, our very own local paper for our very own street called the “Sylvan Gazette” was in publication.

JK was the mastermind behind the operation. Bugger and I did the running around and sought out my paper route customers to participate in our idea. When I collected money for “The Post Star,” I diverted the annoying conversation into one that would get my customers to open their eyes and look at me differently. I would check to see if they had a story to share with others on the street. To our delight, we had several people interested in providing personal stories for the “Gazette.” We began to interview and report on their stories, then the work would go into production and copies were run to deliver to our friends and neighbors on Sylvan Avenue.

Get this; I believe we were asking 25 cents for each paper. Our goal was to make some “candy money.” To my surprise, it became a passion for sharing the scoop on the street. I learned quite a bit and made connections with my neighbors in a more profound way that enabled me to see life through their eyes. They let their guard down and opened up. It was another life-changing experience I didn’t recognize at the time.

As I reflect now, what I truly learned is what incredible things can happen when you ask people questions with genuine interest. People shared beautiful details about their day trips, vacations, gardens, pets, and whatever seemed to bring them true inner happiness. High school athletes talked about their significant accomplishments, and parents often gushed about their kids. The stories were always there, but the monotony of everyday life suppressed them. It took a catalyst, the “Sylvan Gazette” to pull them out. I had never seen my neighbors come alive the way they did during these interviews with three little kids. Much more so than seeing them in their bathrobes, waiting for the morning paper, that is for sure.

As I reflect even further, our street was vibrant and lively. Youthful inexperience made me think every neighborhood was like this. In reality, it was a unique place. I often reflect on why it was so different than many other streets. There were many reasons why Sylvan Avenue was so unique, and now I better understand those reasons. The “Sylvan Gazette” was an important one. People had an exchange wherein they could share a piece of themselves and be a little vulnerable through the eyes of the curious young reporters writing their story. They seemed to wave more often, were out in their yards more and found additional ways to connect. We lived in a blissful bubble. Sylvan Avenue was a special place.

It takes a little work to create the dynamics of a Sylvan Avenue. It doesn’t just happen. Sometimes we need a little nudge to get us going. I never realized that my real passion was making connections for people and that the “candy money” was just a means to this end. Maybe one of your kids will start their very own Sylvan Gazette! You can engage with others in a way that might amaze you too. Try simply asking others, “what brings you joy” and listen as you have never before. Don’t judge it and simply support the discourse through curious inquiry. You might be surprised what people share when you genuinely ask with care. Ignite happy from within -).