Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: Connect with Yourself First

In the tenth chapter of his book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, John Maxwell gives his fifth set of practices for connecting, namely, how to gain credibility as a leader by living what you communicate.   In yesterday’s post, I discussed the opening to the chapter, in which the first step in connecting with others is the ability to connect with yourself.

In this chapter, I outline the various ways that John Maxwell suggests for doing this.

1.   Connect With Yourself

To connect with yourself, you have to know yourself, both your strengths and weaknesses, in an objective a manner as possible.   This can come from taking self-assessment tests available on line, but a lot of material can be uncovered simply by reflecting, and writing in a journal.    I use a journal for three reasons:   as a gratitude journal, as a planning journal, and as a journal of reflection.    The gratitude comes from the formula discussed by Shawn Achor, who gives a talk at TED The Happy Secret To Better Work.


In this talk, he shows how writing

  • three things you are grateful for
  • one positive experience you have had in the past 24 hours
  • one random act of kindness you have done for someone in one of your networks, or better yet, a stranger

can focus your mind on the positive and keep it from focusing on the negative.    It’s not that negative events won’t happen to you, it’s just that you won’t dwell on them and you won’t give them the power to derail you from your ultimate goals.

I also use my journal as a planning journal, where I write my long-term plan, yearly plan, monthly plan, weekly plan, and daily plan.    This is important to my personal life as well as my professional life as a project manager.

Then the third thing I use my journal for is for reflection on the meaning and import of the events that have happened to me, either during the day or during the night in the form of dreams.    Keeping a journal for this purpose opens a line of communication that allows you to be in touch with your inner thoughts, and feelings, and yet to be able to distance yourself enough from them to be able to write about them.

In the next post, I talk about the next elements of connecting with yourself, namely, how to right your wrongs, and to be accountable to yourself for goals you set and for values you want to uphold.


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