How to Live a Life of Purpose + 5 Uncommon Tips to Genuinely Connect With Everyone You Meet
A few months ago I had the privilege of speaking at a University of California San Francisco Global Health Institute satellite event geared towards helping students bridge a sustainable future in Global Health. I was asked to facilitate an icebreaker with an emphasis on how to create strong connections—because, while the students in attendance were interested in Global Health, the focus of the event was really on how to create connections and build powerful partnerships as a way to empower further innovation within the field of Global Health.
It was a fun (yet, scary!) and inspirational event to be a part of. I was challenged to deliver a quality and heartfelt talk to these motivated students; and was inspired as I learned more about the future of Global Health and got to meet the pioneers who plan to lead us on that journey.
But what on earth does Global Health have to do with Live Your Legend?
It might not seem like an obvious match. But like most industries or causes with big challenges to overcome, Global Health needs the meaningful collaboration that comes from smart people making genuine connections. And at Live Your Legend we know that, regardless of your industry, title or what you plan to do in this world, being able to create strong connections with the people you meet is an important piece of the puzzle.
We’ve said it over and over again, but getting the right people in your corner and being able to genuinely connect with those you meet is the number one hack we know to help you actually start living out your dreams. And more importantly, we all know the power that is created when many minds come together, so being able to connect and collaborate with others is essential (especially when we’re talking about solving major world issues like improving Global Health)!
And that is why I was so excited to talk to these students, because I see their current stage of life as a very exciting one. A stage at which they are just embarking on the path of choosing what to do and who they will bring on their journey with them—a journey that will end up writing the story of their lives!
So today, I’d like to share the talk I gave, as well as the 5 not-so-common tips I delivered on connecting. I hope you’ll do a few things:
- Watch the talk.
- If you find it helpful, share it with someone you think might find it helpful as well!
- Go leverage one of the 5 tips today to make a genuine connection of your own.
You can check out the talk here…
Key Topics and Stories Covered in the Talk
- Why I see uncertainty as a form of possibility.
- How my background of growing up with 11 cats, multiple animals with 3 legs and at one point a chameleon breeding ground led me to where I am today.
- How re-learning to “dream like a child” is the solution to the world’s problems.
- My medical school rejection story.
- Why we should see our challenges as opportunities.
- Why becoming a self-expert and doing the impossible is so important.
- The reason I take a cold shower every day.
- How discomfort is really just a form of excitement.
- The reason genuine connections are so important and why no one should be viewed as a stranger.
- Why being YOU is the best thing you can do.
- How to make yourself memorable.
- Tips to be a better listener.
- How and why you can connect with others by eliciting them to feel.
- Why who you chose to hang out with is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make.
- Why you should ask yourself “Who do you want to be when you grow up?” no matter how old you are.
- My personal “why” for what I do every day…
What Does It Mean to Genuinely Connect?
To me a genuine connection consists of a few things:
- It’s an equal interaction (you give as much, if not more, than you receive)
- It’s a deep-level connection (you feel something for or with the other person)
- It’s memorable (they remember something specific about you and you about them)
- You view each other as interesting, intriguing, an expert on a topic, etc.
- It creates a shared, continued interest (there is a desire to follow-up, learn more, etc.)
So, this means that genuinely connecting is the exact opposite of what is traditionally considered “networking.” Because absolutely anyone can walk into a room, throw around a bunch of business cards and not actually “connect” with anyone.
And that’s why today we are going to share with you 5 not-so-common tips on how to genuinely connect with people. Because to create something memorable, you have to go much deeper than surface level.
5 Tips to Genuinely Connect With Everyone You Meet
1. See Everyone as Friends You Haven’t Met Yet
With good friends, we listen, try to help, we offer heartfelt advice, we make introductions, remember names and talk about shared passions. We do not try to dominate the conversation, show off who we are or go in asking without giving anything in return.
It’s pretty simple: before interacting with people, stop and ask yourself—how would I approach my friend in this situation? And then treat them that way!
See every person as an opportunity—to learn, to grow, to enhance who you currently are. Be open to the people who cross your path. Give more than you expect to receive. Remember that you always have the opportunity to make someone’s day a little bit brighter. And act with compassion, because we really are all in this thing called life together.
2. Lead an Interesting Life—Be Memorable
There is no doubt that energy and passion are contagious. People want to be around people who are excited about what they’re doing. So, that starts with spending your time doing the things that get you excited!
Instead of spending your time doing the things that drain you, spend a little time each day doing something that you get lost in. And then share that with people.
There is an idea that “misery loves company” but I think that the only company misery loves is other miserable company! So instead of only talking about the things that are going wrong in your life, talk about the things that are going right! Being open and vulnerable is important to connect, but shift your focus to showcase your passions alongside sharing your struggles.
But this leads into the next point…
3. Be Genuine—Be You!
There’s a tendency when we’re around certain people to want to act big and be someone we’re not. But the problem with that is that everyone’s BS radars are really high.
We’ve all seen the person who is trying really hard—and we know that’s exactly what they are doing! The more you are open, vulnerable and unapologetically you, the more you will connect on a deeper level with people.
When you are genuinely you, you’ll radiate and attract others towards you without having to try because when you are you, it gives other people the permission to be them and that’s a rare gift.
So stop worrying about the right thing to say. Just show up, be you, know that you have something to offer and care about who you’re talking to. Do that and you will become unforgettable.
4. Actively Listen
As humans our minds tend wander, especially this day and age with so many distractions.
And if you can learn to actively listen to the person you are talking to and genuinely stay interested in what they have to say (i.e., focus on them instead of you, give more than you expect to receive, etc.), they will have no choice but to feel a connection with you.
To actively listen means to not only listen, but to repeat and clarify. So when someone tells you “I am a student interested in global health.” Instead of turning the conversation back to you and saying, “Oh cool, I am a student too,” keep the conversation with them. “Wow, a student in global health! (Repeating helps them feel heard and clarifies for you that you actually heard what they said correctly.) Tell me more…”
As humans we really all have a few simple needs, and being heard is one of them. So if you can become a great listener, you’ll find yourself connecting with people better than ever before—and this is true for all the relationships in your life!
5. Talk About Your Why, Not Your What
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. So the more you can actually make someone else feel something, the deeper you’ll connect. Because people might forget your name or what you do, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
But remember, don’t offer up what you think they want to hear, you’ve got to start with deeply knowing why you want to do it yourself. And the more you can talk about why you are motivated by something (and who you plan to help along the way) the more you’ll touch the person across from you. Because there’s no doubt we are all touched when we come across someone who is living from their heart…
Why Connecting Matters
Connection is a necessary part of our human existence. None of us walk this path alone.
And I believe the more we can genuinely connect with one another, the better off we will all be. Because when you can learn to connect and communicate more effectively you become a better friend and family member, and you allow yourself to become better in your business ventures.
But most importantly, I deeply believe that when we connect with others, we are reminded that, despite any apparent outward differences, we really are all in this together…
So here’s to creating unforgettable connections,
P.S. If you found this useful, please share it with someone you think might find it useful as well.
P.P.S. Parts of this talk came from ideas in our full course on creating genuine connections, Connect With Anyone. Be sure to join our waitlist if you want to be the first to know when CWA will be available again!