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Are you ready for my favorite challenge in the 52 Weeks of Meaningful Connections? This could be the challenge that if everyone accepted could put me out of businesses as a coach, speaker and writer who specializes in networking and connection?

Here it is: Go all in with all people.

This challenge is inspired by a 2009 op-ed written by Brene Brown. I recently read Brown’s Daring Greatly and the entire piece is included in the book. Even if it means abandoning this article right now, click over to the op-ed and read it.

This article says what I feel when I’m at Starbucks, at a restaurant with my family, and waiting in line (anywhere!) I am as guilty as the next person of Facebook checking in the 30 seconds it takes for the person in front of me to put in their latte order. I’ve also been known to avert eyes on an elevator ride to the top floor because I’m feeling particularly introverted one day. This is understandable. Some days we need to look down. On the other days though, I challenge you not only to look up, but also to engage fully.

Here are some thoughts to get you started.

  • When you are in the line at the grocery store, engage the clerk as he scans and packs.
  • When you pick your children up from daycare, ask the teacher how the day was and what her plans are for the evening.
  • When your phone rings in a public place the next time, silence the ring unless you are expecting an urgent call.

Our attention spans are short and keep getting shorter – eight seconds at last check of the research. It’s no wonder we get caught with our faces in a screen or attempt to multitask while waiting in line. What if for one day, we pretended we were back with Laura Ingalls Wilder in Little House on the Prairie? We would be attentive listeners (which might open up new possibilities as I pointed out in an earlier post). We would find comfort in quiet. We would fully immerse ourselves in the storytelling of others. More than anything, we would connect with others on a deeper and more meaningful level that might leave us both changed forever.

How are you going to face the challenge of going all in with all people? I’d love to hear how this goes for you. Share what made you successful, or share when you found yourself reverting to old habits. Comment below or share your ideas on Facebook or Twitter!

Does “going all in with all people” make you nervous? If so, reach out to me. I help people uncover their network gaps and devise a plan of action. I’d love to open your eyes to the possibilities of letting people into your life – whether for a single coffee or a long-term mentorship.

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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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