“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.”
― William James
It’s that time of year when we gather around the table to reconnect with family over a heaping plate of turkey, stuffing and other tasty things. Whether you love or dread the annual Thanksgiving feast, I think we can all agree that it’s about much more than food. It’s about strengthening bonds with people we love—bonds that can be strained by the daily stress of life.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the value of community and relationships ever since our user group conference in July, Onspring Connect. I’ve been blown away by the willingness of our clients to share their ideas, solutions and challenges with one another—not just in a formal presentation, but in day-to-day interactions. They talk on the phone, they meet for lunch and they’ll even travel to one another’s offices to see their Onspring solutions in action.
What’s their motivation for sharing? It’s simple. There’s power and value in community. Forming connections with other people may not give you an immediate, tangible benefit, but eventually, those relationships will pay off. Not financially, but in goodwill. When we reach out, share our knowledge and help other people become better/smarter/faster at what they do, that goodwill somehow comes back to us, often when we need it most.
As you belly up to your holiday dinner table, I encourage you to reflect on the value of your own connections and how you can strengthen them in the coming year. I offer three pieces of advice, drawn from our terrific client and partner community at Onspring:
1. Don’t be afraid to share, even if what you’re doing is far from perfect.
You don’t have to wait until you’ve completely solved a problem before you talk to others about what you’re doing. Just be open and honest about what’s working and what’s not. Your listener may learn more from your challenges than your victories.
2. Be willing to show and tell.
I love that our clients are eager to show one another what they’re doing in the Onspring platform. It’s amazing how much more value people get from seeing, not just hearing. Whatever project you’re working on, show it off! Be willing to open up the hood and let people see how it works (assuming you protect your organization’s IP, of course).
3. Don’t expect anything in return.
That sounds harsh, but it’s true. When you share your experience with others out of a simple desire to be helpful (and not to make yourself look good), it will almost always come back to you someday in the form of goodwill. But set aside your expectations. Share just because it’s a good thing to do.
On behalf of the Onspring team, I wish you a happy holiday season, filled with quality time with the people you love. Cheers to deeper connections, stronger communities and shared experiences.
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