Resolve to be a better connector

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My Favorite Connection Advice Book

Selling over seven million copies, Life’s Little Book of Instructions by author H. Jackson Brown, Jr. hits on every life lesson a connector needs to know. From his wide-ranging recommendations to “give three compliments a day” to “take someone bowling” to “believe in love at first sight”, Brown offers wisdom unmatched both in simplicity and value. First written as a guide to his son Adam who was leaving for college, Brown lists 511 recommendations on how to live a connected life.

I particularly like his quote about adopting a sense of urgency to accomplish our goals. Turning over a new calendar in January is the perfect time to light a fire under ourselves!

The Five Most Important Questions to Begin The New Year

At the start of every year, most of us reflect on what we want to achieve. To take a solid inventory, ask yourself these five questions:

  1. What did I accomplish last year that I am proud of?

When you answer, be generous with yourself. Did you learn a new skill? Successfully make a move? Start a new job? Push through a difficult challenge? We often are the last to give ourselves credit for the good we accomplish. Whether it’s a perfectionist streak or an unwillingness to acknowledge our own talents, selling yourself short is never the platform you need to take yourself forward.


  1. What fresh start do I need? Even if we don’t say it out loud, most of us know deep down what’s not working in our lives. Our dissatisfaction nags at us. It may keep us awake at night or prevent us from being fully productive. The fresh start may be in a professional or personal category, or both. Whatever fresh start you need, the first step to having it is acknowledging it.


  1. How do I want to stretch myself? I am forever amazed at how much growth occurs in children. From birth to adulthood, they keep evolving, acquiring new knowledge, awareness, and emotional intelligence. The #1 reason children grow is because of their curiosity and imagination. As we age, adults are guilty of tunnel vision. If you want to grow, hold tight to your sense of wonder.


  1. What’s the biggest thing I want to do that would feel absolutely great? You know the experience of pushing through something hard and how much confidence it gives you? When we ponder what we could get done that would make us feel fantastic, it’s likely something big. What’s your “hairy scary” goal? The tougher the achievement you accomplish, the better it will make you feel about yourself.

And, finally the last and most important question of all… (drumroll please!):

  1. Who do we need to connect with to help us achieve our goals? This is the million-dollar question. We can’t do anything alone. Oh, sure, we can accomplish tasks alone. But getting to the next level, the new job, the new city, the new relationship, the new skill requires the support and involvement of other people. Being well connected to others will always open the doors to our dreams.

Three Ways I Will Resolve To Be Better Connected In 2023

Remember that sense of urgency Brown talks about? You’ll need it to move yourself forward to wherever you want to go in this new year. (If you don’t feel the urgency, you’ll make every excuse to put off what you know you need to do. Then you’ll wake up one morning and it will be June!)

Here’s an easy four-step resolution to keep you from getting lazy about making connections you need:

  • I will make a list of five to ten people I need to connect with NOW. (This month).
  • I will calendar when and how I plan to contact them. (This month.)
  • I will give it three solid tries, starting NOW. (I’ll give myself six weeks to make contact.)
  • I will rinse and repeat three more times beginning March. (Then the year will be up!)

You won’t get every single connection to line up the way you want. But odds are very good that you will get at least 20%. And some will surprise you. What does it require? Your commitment, resolve, AND your sense of urgency.

Here’s to your goals and the connections that will get you there!

As always, I am happy to listen. Please share with me what you are working towards at I promise to be a very rowdy cheerleader!


  • Ann Louden

    A seasoned executive in the nonprofit world, Ann Louden is the founder and CEO of Ann Louden Strategy and Consulting. Recognized for her expertise in fund raising, high profile special events, and campaign planning, Ann provides counsel to chief executives, staff, and volunteer leadership. Ann’s primary interest areas are education, health care for women and children, the arts, and adoption. As a cancer survivor, she led and was the twelve-year spokesperson for a breast cancer advocacy initiative that engaged thousands of survivors, volunteers and medical providers. With a mantra of bringing big ideas to life, Ann focuses on identifying a compelling vision and creating a goals-oriented plan for execution. An in-demand national speaker for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Ann is the recipient of the Steuben Excellence in Teaching Award and has been named as a CASE Laureate. She is the author of the upcoming book: From Social Courage to Connection: Lessons from Leaders Who Change and Save Lives. You can find her at

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