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You Can’t Cheat Connection

Build Real Relationships

The question is can you cheat real connection? One of the things I would like to be is a better friend. You know. The one that remembers your birthday, sends you flowers when something big happens, and makes time for you no matter how busy we are. Thoughtfulness. I know that is where real connection happens. It is about getting out of our own routines and business to make time for those that we care about or want to care about. There is no shortcut.

“Live-tweeting your bikini wax is not vulnerability. Nor is posting a blow-by-blow of your divorce. That’s an attempt to hot-wire connection. But you can’t cheat real connection. It’s built up slowly. It’s about trust and time.” Brene Brown

I truly believe that this life is about two things – cultivating connection and kindness. That’s it. When I strip everything away those two ideas keep coming back. This is true about my work in marketing and my life in a small town/global community.

We are trying to shortcut real connection by being distracted by online likes, hearts and moments. Sure, those can become real friends, but even then it takes real connection. You have to comment, build a relationship and put the time in even online.

How to Create Real Connection

I’m not going to lie, you have to take time and spend energy. There isn’t a shortcut for real connection. You have to commit. So what are some of the ways you can be the better friend (obviously, this list is for me as much as it is for you!)?

  • Always be there. Even when it is uncomfortable.
  • Tell the truth. Even when it is hard.
  • Listen. Shut your motor mouth and hear what the other person is saying.
  • Be happy for them. Shut down your inner jealousy to celebrate their wins.
  • Forgive. Honestly, people will let you down, but you can move through it.
  • Show up. Go to their art show, support their Jamberry party on Facebook, go to their dance recital.
  • Stop giving advice unless they ask for it. You aren’t better than them – everyone is your equal.
  • Make small gestures. Send them coffee, pick up that something special you saw while on vacation, make them something sweet – whatever. It doesn’t have to be expensive; it’s about thoughtfulness.
  • Show your inner 9 year old. Life isn’t always super serious and if you can laugh together you can start to build some trust.
  • Make time. Relationships don’t happen overnight. You have to make time to help them grow.

What are your ideas? How are you building real relationships in your work, personal and online life? I’d love to hear!


Goals for the New Year

Goals for the New Year There was a discussion on Facebook recently about having goals and there were quite a few in the camp that they didn’t need them. Life was too consuming already to put the pressure of having goals. I totally get that. I was that person when our daughter was young. It was everything I could do to just get to school (I was in design school), be a mom, clean the house, run all the errands… life just kept happening and I could barely keep up. I just pinged from thing to thing. Which was fine at the time, but if I had goals I might have pinged in a straighter line without so much drama… something I strive for now that I’m in my 40’s for sure. Now I have goals for the new year. Things I want to make happen in my life. My Main Street organization has goals and my business life has goals, too. Striving to reach them is half the fun! Getting there is like confetti, sprinkles and icing all rolled into one!

How We Got To 9 Goals

Nine is the magic number this year (no reason, just like a neat square). I gave my husband and I each 9 Post It Notes and we each wrote out our own 9 goals (with a haiku for each one. Why not?!) There is a great article about doing a life audit where you do 100 Post It notes, but I knew that having my husband do 9 was going to be a lot (he is a bit more reluctant to set goals for himself). Plus, 9 things in a year is a lot! If I make these happen I’ll be thrilled.

Goals for the New Year (My Magic 9 for 2016)

Sit with Natalie Goldberg. Natalie wrote Writing Down the Bones. The quintessential writing/zen book and she is teaching in New Mexico in September. It is a life long dream of mine to sit with her and take this workshop. What will it take: saving, scheduling and plotting with my friend Sarah.

Make Art and Run Out of Art Supplies. I have paint, paper, canvases, my own studio and nothing to stop me from using all of it except me. My goal is to literally run out of supplies by the end of the year. What will it take: scheduling, creativity and my block to creating art/the internal critic.

Road Trip with My Husband. I love taking road trips with my husband, but lately they have only been work related. My goal is to take one that is pure pleasure. Our destination? Fairfield, Iowa. Really. What will it take: scheduling, planning and some savings.

Take an Overnight Hike with My Daughter. I’ve wanted to hike overnight for a long time and so does my daughter. I’ve never done it. I’m not in great shape. I don’t have any of the equipment. I’m going to do it anyway. I suspect it will look a lot like A Walk in the Woods and Wild combined. What will it take: scheduling, planning with my daughter, gathering/borrowing supplies, meeting with our friend Terra who has done this and gumption.

Paint the Front Door. Our front door is actually an interior door. Not very solid and the red paint that I did 14 years ago is scratched off where our beloved, Zeppelin, used to scratch to get in and out. (Franklin doesn’t do that. He just stares at you through the window like a creeper.) It’s time to paint the door and welcome in another 14 years in the cottage! What will it take: choosing a color, a sunny day, and willingness to get dirty (I’m a messy painter).

An Easy Garden. Last year we didn’t plant a blessed thing. We had just gotten Franklin and he was all I could handle. This year I want to be practical and do an easy garden. Two tomato plants, 2 cucumbers, beans, 3 peppers and a whole bunch of zinnias. That’s it. No getting crazy with the seed catalogs. Just simple and doable. What will it take: starting seeds, planting them, watering, weeding, and keeping up with it.

Eat Less, Move More. I want to follow Michael Pollan‘s advice and Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants. I also want to walk, do some yoga, and lift some weights. I also want to start cutting out sugar – this, by far, will be the hardest thing, says the woman who begged her husband to make chocolate peanut butter cookies last night. What will it take: sticktoitiveness, smarter choices, meal planning and making it happen.

Coffee Dates with Friends. I want to plan and go on 12 coffee dates this year with friends. I’m a bit of a workaholic (I LOVE what I do) and I don’t make time for relationships. I want to remedy that in 2016 with 12 dates. What will it take: Asking, scheduling, going and relishing in the moment with good friends (coffee, too)! What to schedule a date? Email me.

The Empty Goal. It seems fitting really that I could only come up with 8 and that 9 is empty. I’ll use that to keep possibilities open, remember to choose simplicity over more, and to continue to practice meditation. What will it take: everything I’ve got.

xo – Jacqueline – has created CRAZY good content on her email list. SIGN UP. Seriously. It only goes to the list and you don’t want to miss out. Schedule is the 5th and the 20th of every month so I won’t overwhelm your inbox.

Love is the absence of judgment

Love Word Art by Creations by StarrC on Etsy Over a decade ago, wanting a simpler life, our family moved to the middle of the country. As city dwellers this was a huge change for us on basic levels, but what it did for my tendency to judge was fill my heart with compassion. Living on the West Coast it was so easy to dismiss everyone else as not as cool, intelligent or cutting edge. Not knowing anyone in the “fly over” states we were able to quickly dismiss them as unimportant. What a mistake we had made, not in moving, but in dismissing the depth and richness of spirit of those around us.

Making the change from city snob to simple kindness wasn’t easy, but the lessons are ones that will live with me forever. Having a cool heart isn’t the life I ever wanted, softening into love is a powerful place to be and I am grateful that my neighbors and friends allowed me to stumble into their lives without grace or understanding.

It is so easy to fall into the place where we judge everyone around us. We learn this early on the playground to exclude anyone we don’t think is worthy of our time and energy. That self-selecting by keeping everyone at bay may trick us into thinking we are the cool kids, but what it really does is stops us from seeing just how amazing everyone is around us. Putting out the vibe that you are better than everyone else just keeps you separate.

After several years of living in the rural countryside I was lonely, which was my own fault for putting up so many barriers. You can’t keep pushing people around you away and have friends too. So, I made the decision to just like people where they were. Not to judge where they came from, how they chose to live their lives, what their belief system or politics were. All of that was just superficial to who they were in their hearts.

It was a big leap to let all of that go, but it was critical to living my life authentically and to not being lonely.

So, just like that, I let it go. I allowed people to be where they were in life and let them into mine. Sure, we are different people with different ideas about what are right, cool and good; but somewhere in there we find something we agree on and meet there.

That decision, to just love people and stop judging them, created a diverse community of folks that I can call on to do all kinds of things. There is never a reason for me to be lonely because there is always someone out there who just might be interested in doing something I want to do or I can join them on their adventures.

Last summer I returned home to the West Coast for a conference filled with people who haven’t made that leap. People who haven’t decided to jump in and see what people who aren’t like them at all can bring to the party; it was eye opening. I would have never thought our leap into the middle of nowhere would have landed us into the richest part of our lives. Being able to see everyone for their value and worth is a gift that everyone can have; you just have to leap into love.

Do Good. Be Great.


I love this word art from Creations by StarrC on Etsy. Fun!