What follows is a story that explains the power of the 7 Graces. I have focused on the first Grace, the grace of connection because it is the lynchpin that connects the other six graces, no pun intended. It is also essential to creating sparkly conversations. David Gray’s image illustrates how connection works very well.
At the beginning of 2012, I sat in a meeting room at PwC with two potential business partners at that time. We wanted to build the collaboration properly so we used an exercise from Neil Crofts’ book Authentic Business on how to articulate your purpose and find out how aligned you are. In essence mine was the desire to change the way we do business in the West. My potential collaborators both found my purpose statement too woolly and it was not long after that we realised that there was no future in working together.
However I really thought I was on to something and yet at that point I had no idea how to articulate that further. It was a few months later that I started reading tweets and posts on facebook by Lynn Serafinn about the the 7 Graces Global Conference that was taking place in June. I just knew that I had to go. It was so refreshing to hear someone voicing what I had thought for a long time.
In a nutshell what Lynn was saying was that we needed to change the way we marketed and sold our products and services. The whole purpose of the conference was to explain to people how this could be done. Although the quality of input varied over the 2.5 days, the energy in the room was electrifying and on the last morning, we all witnessed a miracle. We were talking about collaboration and we did an exercise and suddenly we had created the 7 Graces Global Garden – a magical place where we could all come together and share our own specific gifts. Since then I have witnessed the transformation of my business and I can honestly say that I am enjoying working for myself now in a way that I never did the first time around.
So what is the difference? I put it down to the way that I apply the 7 Graces to the way that I do business and for that I will be eternally grateful to Lynn because she articulated a way for all of us to own heart-based businesses and make a profit in a way that was congruent with our values. Also for me it is about playing to my strengths. I love meeting new people and connecting with them and then connecting them to others in my network.
One of the few rules I have in business is that it is about relationship first and business second. When I meet people initially be it online or offline, my intention is always to find a way to connect. I only ever talk about my business if the other person asks about it and I always find out as much as I can about their business and see what I can do to help them get to the next level. In that way I am very lucky because I have a huge number of contacts via FB, LinkedIn and Twitter so I often find myself acting as a connector. It’s that old adage the people buy from those they know, like and trust. It is more than just being visible; it is about taking time to get to know people in an online community. I discussed this recently after receiving a notification that an online contact had posted the same phrase in six different groups without stopping to check in and read and comment on other posts.
For all these reasons, I am sure that is why connection is the first of the seven graces. It is the glue that binds together what follows. You may feel that you already do this and yet are not having the same level of traction. If so, ask yourself how connected do I feel to myself and to Source? Why? Because many people starting out in self-employment make the same mistake. They are keen to find their tribe, those who love what they do and will buy from them, to the point that their focus is on connecting with others to the exclusion of anything else. Others sense this even if they cannot put their finger on it and so step back and don’t engage. It is vital that we connect to ourselves and to Source first because only then can we connect to others much more authentically. If you are wondering Source is anything that gives you a sense that there is more to life than our human existence be that nature, Universal light, energy or God.
That’s it from me for now. Curious to know what you make of this so do leave your comments below.