By Mary Ann Faremouth, CPC
As humans, our success and well-being often tie directly to our connections with others. This power of connection has become more evident than ever over the last couple of years as the global pandemic has altered our personal and professional lives. The resulting detachment in our workplaces and personal spheres has us all wanting to rebuild and reshape our lives to bring us more happiness and success.
One positive outcome of the pandemic is the opportunity it has given us to reflect on where we are, to reconnect with what’s important to us, to rethink our strategies, and to reimagine better paths forward. In many cases, our mentalities have shifted from focusing on ourselves as individuals to considering how we fit into larger communities, allowing us to build deeper connections with others that foster growth in every area of our lives.
I’d like to share with you some of my experiences and the important lessons on connections I have gleaned from them. Perhaps the insights I gained might serve you well in your own personal and professional journeys.
1. Create a Sense of Belonging at Work
One of my Texas-based clients was recently looking for candidates to replace senior-level staff who would be retiring within the next year. When she mentioned that many of her people had been with her for forty years, I asked for her thoughts on why people stayed with the company for so long.
Her answer? The sense of “family or belonging” the owner had created in the workplace.
This company cared about its people. They celebrated wins as a group and offered support when someone was going through a hard time. Belonging, the owner believed, was a key ingredient for employee well-being and organizational functioning. As a result, profits were consistently increasing, and it seemed people took fewer sick days and were more productive.
If you are a leader or supervisor of a company, how might you work with management to build a sense of belonging among employees? If you are an employee, what small steps might you be able to take to make your work environment more welcoming and supportive?
2. Participate in Professional Groups and Organizations
Since 1985, I have been a member of organizations that hold conferences and conventions all over the country for my client base. Such functions have allowed me to meet new company representatives and candidates who might be looking for new opportunities, expanding both my client platform and my candidate pool.
As event organizers began asking me to speak at these functions to share my expertise, I became involved in other organizations, like Toastmasters and Rotary clubs. These helped me polish my presentation skills and form meaningful networking relationships that have proven supportive in the professional and personal arenas. Many of these organizations still held meetings online during the pandemic, allowing me to feel a sense of community when being socially active in person was not a good idea.
What groups and professional organizations could you investigate to broaden your personal and professional platforms? What groups or organizations could you join that would allow you to become your best self and, at the same time, assist others in meaningful ways?
3. Engineer New Skills and Expand Your Expertise
In 2014, I began taking a writing class so I could craft a story from an experience I hoped to help others avoid as they worked to become the best versions of themselves. With the support of the community I gained through the writing class and larger writing community, I published my first book in 2017 and, in 2020, a companion workbook to assist candidates in transferring skills in the wake of the massive layoffs and company closures that occurred.
More recently, while I was putting on a huge speech contest for Toastmasters, a former Toastmasters area director, Elle Ballard, informed me she was the executive director of Women of the World Network (WOTWN), a global organization for professional women. When I learned of all the neat things they were doing for women, I joined the organization. One of the many things WOTWN engineered was anthologies featuring WOTWN members. I got to be involved in the most recent project, a WOTWN cookbook called Recipes for Your Mind, Body, and Soul. Within the first twenty-four hours of the book being on Amazon, it became a #1 bestseller in seven countries!
Because of the great power of connection, I have been able to meet so many wonderful women, expand my writing platform, and join those who claim the title of bestselling international author.
Is there something you could do online or in person to expand your skillset and expertise and meet enriching people? Are there communities built around skills that you could contribute to as you grow and expand who you are?
As Aristotle once said, “Man is by nature a social animal.” Let the power of connection bring meaning to your personal or professional life. Become part of a common and worthy endeavor, and make your journey on this planet one of high-quality connections, in which everyone wins and has a higher quality of life.
Mary Ann Faremouth
Mary Ann holds a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant) credential, was certified by the Board of Regents of the National Association of Personnel Consultants in Washington, D.C., and was awarded an Advanced Communicator Bronze, Advanced Leader Bronze Awards by Toastmasters. She cofounded Jobs: Houston magazine in 1997. Mary Ann maintains affiliations with professional organizations, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. (www.faremouth.com)
Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction, Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books, Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019), Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018), Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction and the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business. Her new workbook, Revolutionary Reinvention, was recently released on Amazon. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.