Without relationships, you could die of loneliness — literally.
A study concluded, ‘Actual and perceived social isolation are both associated with increased risk for early mortality.’
'Loneliness — both its objective state and feelings of loneliness — is also the psychological state most associated with suicide, to the point where it’s safe to say that while not all lonely people are suicidal, all suicidal people are lonely’ 
Building your connections is important because human relationships make up the fabric of your life, along with everyone else connected to you in some way, now and in the future.
I have a small network of snowboarder friends I’m still in touch with. They are rad! Since moving to Australia, I have proactively built up my network
deep and wide. It’s amazing.
You will build confidence by building your network. It’s a mutually reinforcing cycle; this means you will become more confident as your network grows, and as your network grows, you will, in turn, become yet more confident. It’s exponential, where one plus one doesn’t equal two, but one plus one equals three. Two minds connecting and collaborating create more than the sum of their parts.
Psychologically, humans are social creatures. Without a society to belong to, it’s all too easy to become isolated from the group and become a lone wolf. What do you think ultimately happens to a lone wolf? By building connections, you are creating and maintaining a valuable support system. If you need to reach out, there are friends, colleagues, business associates, and family to help you in times of need. Mentally and psychologically, this is a great boost of confidence, because you know people have your back. Likewise, I’m sure you’d have theirs too. At university, I entered the university halls alone, shy and nervous. I plucked up the courage to introduce myself to my roommates.
‘Hello, my name’s Adam. Can I come to dinner with you, please?’
It was later revealed that they thought I was a random stranger. Fast-forward ten plus years and we are the best of friends to this day. We have a WhatsApp group chat, all seven of us. It’s a melting pot of British banter. It’s like we are still at university!
Once you start to truly connect with others in the moment, you will begin to build valuable connections that will help you now, one year from now, or ten years from now. It doesn’t matter when. The most important thing is to start.
Do it. Now.
When you truly, authentically, and deeply connect with people, a foundation of trust is built. A lifetime of solid friendships and strategic partnerships, in life and business, is the outcome. Friendships are built on trust. You need friends to get you out of tight situations and vice versa. You will be a force to reckon with alongside your powerful alliances.
I used to think the friends you grow up with are the most important people you build connections with. I found out this is not the case, because once you become an adult — and even before that, in some cases — you can choose your friends.
Show up to events you’re invited to, or even better, go to events you pick that you’re interested in. For example, if you like fishing, go to a fishing event or meetup. You’ll be glad you did, because the benefit of meeting like-minded people will lift your spirits. Once you’re over your initial fear of meeting a stranger for the first time, reveal something honest and true about yourself in pleasant conversation. For example, I love the peace and quiet of sitting at the local river because it’s relaxing. Or if you’re feeling a bit more daring, perhaps share that you once kissed a fish and felt more connected with it than with your partner! See what happens.
If you’re vulnerable with other people, their defences will begin to lower. This will build trust. Trust is ultimately what connections and deep friendships are based on.
Get out of your comfort zone. Show up! Force yourself to go to an event where there will definitely be other people in the same situation as you. Set a challenge where the goal is to introduce yourself to at least one person in the first fifteen minutes.
Trust is ultimately what connections and deep friendships are based on.
You have the power to choose each day who you will connect with.
Who will you connect with and why?
Send a quick message via email, messenger, instagram etc
“Hey, I am ….. and I like how you ….”
Building connections is massively important to your quality of life, especially your bank balance, because it is said that ‘your network is your net worth’. What does this mean? Well, it means the value of your connections are inextricably linked to who you know. People do business with people they trust. Your network is strength in numbers. The deeper and larger a person’s network, the higher their net worth.
You’ve heard the phrase ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’, yes? There’s certainly a grain of truth there. Let’s not disregard the hunger for knowledge, because your authentic connections with people in your network afford you valuable knowledge, in context. It is not just book smarts. It’s great to read and absorb knowledge. Gaining knowledge from others, in context, offers a rich source of knowledge, leading to wisdom. Knowledge is knowing information. Wisdom is the ability to use relevant knowledge effectively to improve your life and the lives of others.
A support network is invaluable to your mental health if you’re feeling low or had a crappy day, or if symptoms of stress, anxiety, or depression begin to rear their ugly head. With a strong and deep network of people that know your background, they’ll be there for you, to help you through challenging times. Likewise, I’m sure you’d do the same for them. Wouldn’t you?
Did you know networking is one of the most important skills in business?
As my mental health started to strengthen, I knew of the importance of networking. I got out of my comfort zone and went to a networking event. I felt so awkward. What should I do? How should I introduce myself? I thought. An array of limiting beliefs started to flood my mind. What will they think of me? Am I good enough? What if I make a fool of myself? I used my own mantra of ‘What is the worst that can happen?’
Just as I was about to pluck up the courage to say ‘Hello, my name’s Adam. What’s yours?’ a friendly gentleman in a smart suit beat me to it! He took the words right out of my mouth, except he said his name first. It was absolutely fine. What on earth had I been worrying about? We had a pleasant chat. What I noticed was how much he focused on how he could help me. It was a welcome change to meeting people who only talked about themselves.
I was inspired to get better at networking, do it regularly, offer to help people, and make sure I focused on them. It felt good. LinkedIn is a great resource too. I met an amazing leader and was invited to do a presentation. I felt the fear and did it anyway. Beyond fear is growth.
Focus on how you will offer to help other people. Listen closely to what they’re about by asking open questions enthusiastically — what, when, where, how, who, and my favourite, why. When you meet someone new for the first time, check their eye colour, because that moment of focus will create a great first impression; you’ll connect on a deeper level purely by using great eye contact and body language. The halo effect will come into play. For example, they will think ‘Wow, this person is confident and is really focused on me and wants to connect’. Try it. Seriously, it works!
Building connections is a sure-fire way to build a powerful network that will serve you and, most importantly, help you be of service to others now and in the future. Start networking now!
You can start online via LinkedIn too.
Three Challenges for you:
1 Approach a colleague at work that you don’t know and introduce yourself. Hi my name is… Then ask them how their day is going and really listen.
2 Approach a person you don’t know that you find attractive and introduce yourself. Hi my name is… Then ask them how their day is going and really listen. (This challenge is limited to those of you that are single)
3 Approach a person you are inspired by, it could be a manager, business leader, celebrity. Introduce yourself and ask them how their day is going and really listen.
Pick one and commit to completing the challenge. Make yourself accountable by telling a friend or relative what your challenge is and when you’ll do it.This way you’re more likely to take action.
‘The measure of intelligence is the ability to change’ — Einstein
Thank you for reading! Adam Bowcutt
 Loneliness Might Be A Bigger Health Risk Than Smoking Or Obesity, Scott Mendelson