bring people together, leadership, Women

Separated or Connected

Are we separated or more connected? We are living through historical times where we are separated. I think this is a good time to restart our learning of real connection and care for people. Connecting in an isolated world looks and feels different than when we were freer to move about. Typically, I think about connecting with people as watching facial expressions, reading body language, giving handshakes, etc. These visual and physical indicators haven’t been as possible with our “Stay at Home” practice.

When the circumstances change, we adapt. Since we can’t use our sense of vision and touch, we should consider using our sense of hearing. Consider adjusting our communication by listening and speaking differently.

  • Using our words to voice our opinions politely
  • Focusing on listening to the tone of voice and words
  • Repeating what you hear to confirm for understanding
  • Pausing to give others time to speak
  • Acknowledging or responding to emails, so others know you are reading
  • Saying on a call, “Sorry, no, you speak first.”

Let’s also consider how we treat others, but remember, we are all doing our best through these times of separation. I read somewhere that in these times, we should treat our friends like family and our coworkers like friends. What would this mean?

  • Show grace when we hear the emotion in the voices
  • Listen for meaning beyond the emotion
  • Forgive!
  • Coach!

Wait, are you caught up in the emotion also? I would often say that coaching requires showing empathy. But if we are caught up in the excitement, then we have struggles coaching others with a clear mind. Recently Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love, stated in a TEDConnects that “we should show compassion, not empathy during these times.” Gilbert’s thought seems correct.

em·pa·thy (noun)

 1. the ability to understand and share the feelings of another

 If you are caught up in sharing the feelings of others, then often it is difficult to coach. Show compassion.

com·pas·sion (noun)

1. sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it

Step back and confirm you are ready to coach and show compassion without being caught up in the empathetic whirlwind. Remember that you are not trying to fix people. Your intent should be to support them and alleviate the stress. Also, it is fine if you are caught in the whirlwind because you are human. As humans, we can’t always be calm, so wait and give your compassionate coaching later.

During these crazy, hazy days of this global pandemic, don’t feel separated. Feel connected by adapting to the virtual life and treating others with compassion. Please share your thoughts because an interactive audience enables learning for us all.




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