Social Networks: give or take?
How sustaining is your social network?
Do you have deep, lasting and supportive connections with others?
Do they sustain you through good times and bad?
It’s been proven that lack of social support impacts both mental and physical health and wellbeing. Not a surprise. However, one of the things that alarms me is the national and international suicide rate. It’s now one of our most common causes of death, among many age groups from teens upwards, and particularly in men. The increase in suicide has been linked to increased recreational drug use, but also to loneliness and social isolation.
It’s one of the crushing paradoxes of our time that we have such prolific and diverse opportunities to connect, but we mostly ‘feel’ un-connected. It’s not uncommon for people to feel remote, even in their family and intimate relationships.
Do we not matter enough?
Will anyone check in on us if we’re feeling blue, or we don’t show up for a meeting, class or date?
Are our friends just too busy to notice?
I’ve written on similar topic before, but today I wanted to take another look.
This morning I went to the Botanic Gardens in Sydney for a breakfast networking event. I’ve been networking more lately, making more connections and road-testing some new ideas I’ve been brewing. I chose this particular event because it involved a walk around the rather beautiful Botanic Gardens. I’m a big fan of trees and thought I might meet a few like-minded souls. I did. About 40.
In the two-hour guided walk, I spoke with about 10 people on what was meaningful to them and gave their life purpose. I was surprised at just how inspiring and uplifting that was. Sometimes in the daily grind, we lose sight of the things that energise us. I connected with these humans in a way that fulfilled me. The sight of their smiling faces stays with me. It re-ignites my own passion for work and life.
I will probably see some of them again, but if I don’t, a fresh batch will be there next month, equally fuelled with that human desire to make the world a tiny bit better.
As I left them and went back to my desk, I took the heart energy of the group with me. It was contagious in my subsequent meetings with clients, peers and real estate agents.
If you are struggling to connect with those around you in an energising way – if you feel unseen and unsupported – coaching can help. I have used this coaching work on myself (an introvert) and with my clients, to discover ways to feel fulfilled by human connections. If this is you, I’ll be happy to share strategies.