In the spring of 2011 a period of darkness entered my life after the passing of my Father and days later a job change. It was a period which brought both personal and professional struggles that rocked my belief in others and in myself. It made me question my core values and all that I had been taught through the years about how to interact with people. I questioned not only my leadership style at work but the things I taught to my children and shared with my friends.
Late in 2012 more questions and fewer answers continued to shake my self-confidence and brought me to wondering about my purpose in life. It was a period in which I was truly searching for meaning and wondering if it would ever be found. Thanks to my family and the love and support of my children I knew that giving up was never an option and that I needed to find avenues from which to learn, grow and find purpose. The avenues I came to find were writing and social media.
In early 2013 I joined the social media era by opening a twitter account. Like most things I have done throughout my life it started with following people in sports. I have always been, and always will be, an avid sports fan. As I learned how twitter worked and how much you could learn in small bits of information I looked for people involved in business and leadership. What I found was life changing. I not only found people but communities of people who spoke about leadership and people skills in the way I believed. People not only from the United States but from around the world with diverse opinions and experiences that all focused on the same thing; truly leading people.
I give you that background because communities on twitter and Google+ such as #peopleskills led by Kate Nasser have been a life line for me. They have allowed me to learn that it is ok to be me. They have shown me that leading with empathy, listening and being a Servant Leader are positive. They helped me believe again in my core values and gain an understanding of my purpose in life. Most of all they have helped me build confidence through connection.
So what does that mean? As a person it is vital to continue to grow through learning. Communities on twitter and Google+ give you an amazing amount of opportunities to learn from members. Learning that you can grow from and work with in your life. Whether it is experiences that may be similar to your own or questions that may have you thinking in a new way, the information is endless. And as you learn you gain confidence. Add that to the ability to connect. Whether through Skype or Google Hangouts the door opens to interactions around the world.
For me Sunday morning at 9am Central Time in the US has become one of the most important hours of my week. I have the honor of joining people I now consider friends on the #peopleskills twitter chat. The incredible amount of interaction that takes place in that hour is both educational and inspiring. People engage with respect and civility. They support ideas they believe in and challenge those that differ from their own. They truly set an example for how win – win conversations should take place.
I want to say Thank You to Kate Nasser for the support she has given me over this year. I also want to thank each member of the People Skills Community for the wonderful interactions we have had and the friendships we are building. It is an honor to be part of this group.