Why Personal Connections Matter


I attended a memorial service for a truly amazing individual this past weekend whose life was cut too short by cancer. Jim was a very accomplished business executive, an extremely generous soul, honest, genuine, smart, witty – an overall great guy. 

But, there was something else, something deeper that allowed all those superlatives to be oh so real and authentic. As I listened to his past colleagues, family members and friends speak about him there was a common thread that emerged. Jim was that great guy not because of what he had accomplished but because of how he had treated and connected with people. What had he done to connect with so many? The speakers noted that he knew how to listen, he made the time for them, he asked about others, offered advice but didn't judge, proudly shared with a friend how another friend was doing, he genuinely cared about others. 

What allows one individual to have so much compassion for others. Why don't we all act this way? If it was easy we would – but it's not always easy and in fact can be rather awkward.  Jim, the humble guy with Montana roots, just knew that personal connection mattered and made it a priority. In our fast paced world today where connection more often means being glued to your phone versus spending quality person to person time - we need more Jim's. 

Several hours later as a smaller group of us gathered for dinner after the service, the years of his connections were right there at the dinner table. Some of us hadn't seen each other in several years, some of us only knew of each other from stories Jim had shared, but it didn't matter – we had such a deep level of connection with each other – all because Jim had made the time to connect with each one of us. 

And, so we raised a glass to Jim knowing he was smiling down because of the connections he had created. Go ahead, be Jim for the day – take the time to listen, ask and connect.