Something in common

Our most enduring human connections are often forged during shared experiences.

School friends, work colleagues, team mates, especially those who’ve been with us through challenging times – those people tend to stay front of mind.

What sets those relationships apart is how easily we pick up where we left off, interacting as if we were ‘back in the day’.

With those connections, we don’t need small talk. We just get straight into it. The work of building trust is already done.

The paradoxical nature of the pandemic is that it has provided us with a shared experience but yet we haven’t had the physical proximity that normally cements connection.

While we are in different boats, we’ve all had the challenge of trying to do our best work during complicated circumstances. Some of us have struggled more than others, but none of us are unaware of the disruption.

Perhaps the greatest gift this time will give us is removing any justification for feeling shame about struggle. Working through a pandemic is hard. Most of us have struggled in ways we previously only read about. And we’re also noticing that we’re not alone in that.

In good times, it feels awkward or embarrassing to be talking about underperformance. Or asking for help to get better. I know this first-hand from my coaching work. The first step is often the hardest. But it no longer needs to be that way.

We have the opportunity now to strengthen our relationships by acknowledging this massive shared experience we are going through. And the direct path to that is to be present in an open way: “How are you?”, “How are you finding this?”, “Where could you do with a hand?”

One antidote to our ever-shrinking world is to remember we have something in common.


This post was adapted from one of Aodan’s Sunday morning newsletters, eagerly anticipated by hundreds of readers. Give yourself the gift of that weekly wisdom by signing up here.


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