The Agony and the Ecstasy of Being a Connector

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It’s always given me great joy to connect others when I see opportunities and understand the result could be good for one or the other parties. It’s the abundant attitude that many connectors share that drive them to this behavior.However, it’s often confusing when the very act of connecting others seemed to conflict with my own desire to succeed. Connecting people is something I have loved and done for as long as I can remember. My father was a connector and I didn’t understand it back then. Our youngest daughter, Stacy is also an amazing connector. Introducing people, who eventually married, or ended up working together in some capacity, has just been natural for me. It seems like most connectors, I’ve always been better at connecting/promoting others than I was at working my “own” deal. I love finding experts, and when I do it’s natural to share with others who might benefit from their expertise.

At times, it was obvious when a relationship I had inspired was blooming into something great, at least work wise. I even experienced confusion, feeling conflicted after the fact. Why weren’t some of these people, that I had connected for opportunities, doing the same for me? It’s just not that easy for some, I guessed. For years, in business, it was always more fun for me to work with a team than be a solo gig. I remember hearing from co-presenters I had encouraged to present with me or be part of a program I was involved in share, “you know you can do this program on your own”. In my mind, it was just more fun, more rewarding, and more opportunities in place with others by my side. I love being part of a team, building something greater than “me” or what I could do on my own.

Referring clients to other speakers or those I had worked with to my colleagues has also been easy. Yet, I didn’t feel the love coming back my way. Then I realized that it really is something that is natural for me and other connectors I’ve come to know well and admire.  Clearly it’s the reason as a professional speaker I love the role of emcee. It gives me a great thrill to be able to prepare an audience with excitement for the next speaker. Humanizing the “speaker” to the audience. It’s my “job” to make someone else look great and that’s what I’m best at.  It’s the reason when I speak to a specialist’s referral base I spend time in the practice the day before the event and my team mystery shops their referrals. It’s my privilege to know the client and share a real truth about this person.  To make the client great, to have the audience remember who got me there, not who I am.

I love the stage/podium because I love and live the content. I believe context trumps content. It’s the context in which the information is delivered that has team members in an audience nodding their heads in agreement. Even after being told by industry colleagues that I would never make “real” money speaking, I couldn’t part from it. Oddly enough, I still did not want the coach or consultant role with dental practices, I was already married to one dentist! It wouldn’t allow me to be the connector or promoter of those that I respected most. It also seemed to create a competition and again this created real conflict for me. Remember I am happiest as a team player who promotes others when, it’s not about me!

When we committed to build our on-line digital platform one of our greatest joys was when several of my mentors and friends (coaches and consultants) were excited about how it would help them with their own clients. It gives me the opportunity to enthusiastically connect others to an audience through the platform. The interviews and messages in our short audio podcasts for teams and webinars are an opportunity for them to hear from amazing people in and out of dentistry. Many they might not ever hear otherwise.  Through the National Speakers Association (NSA), I could hear and “scout” if you will message’s and speakers that would clearly resonate with our dental audiences. For those already in dentistry, being able to create value for the craft they master is my passion.

After sitting at the NSA meeting in July it hit me again. All I wanted to do was connect some of these amazing speakers and thought leaders to the niche I love, dentistry. It wasn’t about me! This is truly what I love to do, to connect others. Tee others up or preheat others in a way that an audience is eager to hear from them. The love I have for “man on the street” interviews with an audience after a seminar or at a meeting…wow, now that’s exhilaration! Using my gift of speaking with passion and connecting others to listeners.  This is going to be a great journey and I hope if you’re a connector you’re encouraged by the fact that it’s okay to be conflicted or confused by the outcome some days. Trust that your joy for creating value for others will be your highest pleasure. Then the right people, at the right time, for the right reason gravitate to your space.

See you on the road,

JoAn