For the final week in the series, I ask you to roll the film. It’s the most powerful way to experience the final post in this series. It’s worth the 4:30.

Transcript is below.

If you have felt any of the things I describe in this video, know that you aren’t alone. Whether you feel lonely at home, work or in your community, you can take steps to change it. I invite you to sign up here, start back at week one, read, reflect and act on each week’s content, and imagine what you could feel like in one year. 

YES – I am ready to dive in week by week! Deliver the content to me via email. 


Video Transcript:

52 weeks ago I started out on the journey of writing about meaningful connections. Whether you’ve been here week after week or you are stumbling upon this for the first time today, I have a personal and powerful message to bring the series to a close.

Midway through the series, I had a wake up call. I was thinking about why I was writing this. The why hit me hard. It was unexpected. I wrote it down. I read the message aloud to myself in the mirror.  I submitted the idea for 2 different TEDx talks. After receiving 2 rejection notices, I decided I wasn’t waiting for a stage to share the message. I’ll share it right here.

You could call it the conclusion to 52 Weeks of Meaningful Connections, or perhaps it’s the beginning. Let’s roll the film and you decide for yourself….

We are conditioned from an early age to make small talk. We do it on the playground in elementary school to make friends. It happens in high school as a way to fit in. In college, small talk helps us break the ice with our assigned roommate. It follows us into the workforce. 

 

I’m done with small talk. Because I’m so damn lonely. 

 

I have more Facebook friends and LinkedIn connections than I can count. I belong to the moms group in my community and I am a leader in my company. 

 

Then why am I so damn lonely? 

 

I grew up in a small town. A village, actually. 

 

Because of this, everyone knew everything about everyone else. So small talk wasn’t necessary. I already knew where people lived and where their parents worked and what sport they played. I was born and raised ready to go a level deeper. But as I ventured out into the big world, other people haven’t always been so ready. 

As a young adult I shared my passionate views with a group of friends. They looked at me like I was an alien wondering why I had to have an opinion at all.

In the corporate world, I dared to be bold with my viewpoints only to receive stern looks from senior leaders that suggested “you’re entering dangerous territory”.

And somewhere along the way life became more about likes comments and shares than it did about actual connection.

It’s no wonder I gave up.

It’s no wonder I’m so damn lonely.

It’s no wonder that I’m on a mission. I want us to connect. Meaningfully.

I’m tired of small talk. I’m tired of watering down my opinion. I’m tired of being so damn lonely.

Loneliness can kill us. Living with air pollution increases your odds of dying early by 5%, obesity = 20%, excessive drinking = 30%. Living with loneliness increases our odds of dying early by 45%.*

My challenge is for each of us to get past the small talk and get to know one another. Even if we don’t agree. Even if we don’t think we have anything in common. Even if it gets uncomfortable.

What could your life look like a year from now if you were intentional about making meaningful connections?

I’m ready to find out. Because I’m done being so damn lonely.


How much can you relate to this message?

What causes loneliness in your life? How does it make you feel? What do you do about it? What support do you need to break free? 

I think more of us feel this way than we let on and that’s why I’m bringing this into the world. 

If loneliness is a mental health concern for you, please reach out to your physician or a mental health care professional. 

If feelings of loneliness make you think you are missing out on playing bigger in your life, not fully experiencing relationships the way you want to, or getting in the way of your personal and professional goals, let’s continue the dialogue. 

I invite you to reach out to me at natalie@smalltownleadership.com. These are the things I work with my clients on in my coaching practice. You don’t need to feel lonely anymore. You need to feel like you and live as yourself everyday.

*Based on research conducted by Holt-Lunstad, Smith, and Layton as cited in Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown.
Natalie

Natalie

Small Town Leadership Founder; Natalie believes everything she needed to know to succeed in her career she learned by growing up in a town of 600 people. As a Certified Professional Coach and award-winning public speaker, she helps her clients and audiences make wherever they are feel like a small town. She lives in Dublin, Ohio with her husband, Rob, a professor at Ohio State and two little girls.

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