During these incredibly challenging times, it is more important than ever to be both professionally and personally connected. I often use the metaphor of a spider web. We need to be connected in many ways. We need more than vertical and horizontal lines. We need the interconnectedness of a web.
Connectedness is identified in multiple sources as one of the characteristics of resilient individuals. Being connected benefits us through enriched relationships and enhanced problem solving. Reflect for a moment about a colleague to whom you can reach out. He or she always has connections, including recommendations for a conference speaker, a best practice idea for orientation, or a creative learning activity. What an excellent “go to” person he or she is. As much as we value the assistance provided, we also value that relationship. What is the implication? It is mutually beneficial to seek and provide information to each other. This implies that we have an opportunity, and perhaps a responsibility, to respond when others reach out to us.
Yet, when we are over extended, connectedness is one of the first areas we put aside. We rationalize that we are too tired to attend a professional association meeting, or respond to a list serv question. Personally, we may not attend a social event or connect with a friend. We tell ourselves something has to go and these are the areas that we drop first. Yet a pattern of pulling back and not staying connected, negatively affects our professional and personal resilience. These are the times I invite you to push yourself to reach out to others. In a recent resilience session I facilitated, a leader enthusiastically said, “I’m going to do it! You are right. I have been missing my professional meetings. I am definitely going to next week’s meeting.”
My suggestion? I invite you to identify one professional and one personal connection you will make in the next two weeks. This could include having lunch with a colleague; attending the next ANPD affiliate meeting, recommending a book to a leader; having tea with a novice educator; or having dinner with that friend you have not seen for months. I also invite you to plan to meet a colleague at the ANPD convention in Dallas. Revitalizing those connections will enhance your resilience and will be fun.
See you in Dallas!
Connors, R. & Smith, T. (2011). Change the culture, Change the game. New York: Penguin Group.
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McKinney, B.K. (2011). Withstanding the pressure of the profession. Journal for Nurses in Staff Development, 27(2), 69-73.