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If you missed the Week 52 video and transcript, stop what you are doing and take 4:30 to watch it. It’s not everyday that someone (at least me) spills her guts to the world about their deepest held feelings. It is worth the watch and will help you make sense of this epilogue.

When I look back at the 52 weeks of content, there is something striking that is probably only noticeable by the author. It’s this observation that has led me to understand the truth about connection.

The truth: Connection starts from the inside and works its way out.

The early writings in this series were about making small talk with strangers, doing an icebreaker at the beginning of business meetings, and mapping out your network. I believe in these things and they are important tools to bring with you on your journey to meaningful connections, but they aren’t the key to unlocking your connection potential.

Instead, it’s the later writings that I think share the truth. I dipped my toe in the water during Weeks 14-17 when I spent a month on “Talk to more people, longer,” but it wasn’t until the end that the picture became clear to me.

You have to be connected to you.

Why have I felt so damn lonely? I was lonely for a lot of reasons. I experienced:

  • Loneliness in perfection
  • Loneliness in productivity
  • Loneliness in parenting
  • Loneliness in fear
  • Loneliness in the unknown
  • Loneliness in being “put together”
  • Loneliness in busyness
  • Loneliness in leadership
  • Loneliness in shaking my head yes when inside I was screaming “NO”

Mainly, I was lonely because I wasn’t connected to myself.

When you can’t be yourself, you can’t be with others in a meaningful way. It’s isolating when you aren’t being YOU – no matter the reason. That is the ultimate barrier to connection.

There is a path forward, though.

Important Distinction: A path. A journey. Not a silver bullet.

Much like business leaders are getting better at identifying the why and purpose of their organizations, you need to get clear on:

  • Who you are
  • How you want to show up
  • Who people get to see in the world

Then you will be a magnet for meaningful connections.

You will be more connected to your family. Your community. Your work. All starting with you.

It took me 52 weeks to sort through all of this. For you, it might be the same.

For the next 52 Weeks, I have vowed to bring my full self and my core values to each interaction I have: family, leadership, ambition & connection.

How will you bring your full self forward?

What values are you bringing with you in your next 52 weeks?

What could your life look like a year from now if you stepped into those values fully?

Not sure where to start with your values? I’ve got something that might help. Sign up for this Free Identifying & Honoring Core Values download for a list of values and questions to get you pointed in the direction you want to go.

Perhaps you want to start right back at the beginning of this series and take the journey one week at a time. 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.


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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