The world is hungry for soulful connection. In a conversation today with a very accomplished woman in India, I heard that hunger. She has a stellar educational background with degrees from two of our most prestigious Ivy-League colleges. She founded a successful company and product in the bio-medical field, and has financial success. She has a loving family. She’s creative, active and engaged with her community, but something is missing for her, as it is for many with whom I speak. I believe that missing ingredient is soulful connection.

What does that mean? I’m talking about that deeply meaningful moment that transcends ordinary reality. For some, it comes during meditation when they feel immersed in pure love. For others, those moments when we hear clear guidance in the form of intuition bring that feeling. Some find it in connecting with others who share a sense of purpose. I believe that is part of the reason we saw so many across the globe march on the Saturday following the US presidential inauguration. Yes, they had political concerns, but there was for them and many of us watching a deeper sense of connection in walking together for those causes they care deeply about.

Some of us travel great distances to hike the wilderness and feel that connection, while others go to chapels, mosques and synagogues to feel connected to something bigger than we are. We are drawn to people, stories and songs that evoke this feeling. Once we have tasted this kind of connection, we cannot go back to the flatness of existing without it. One of the changes I noticed in myself when I began having soulful conversations with my clients was that I lost all interest in making small talk at large gatherings. If people couldn’t be deep, authentic and real, it felt fake and unsatisfying to me, like having a “grape-flavored drink” in lieu of a full-bodied glass of red wine.

What I know, is that without this kind of soul food, success feels empty. I remember a CEO early in my career who shared that he’d lost his wife and children because he was never emotionally available—always working toward the financial reward, and when he got there it was empty of meaning. We must re-define what it means to be successful including this ingredient of soul satisfaction.

People will go out of their way to find soulful connection. I have clients on the other side of the world who are willing to schedule with me at one in the morning to have a space where they can share authentically what is in their heart and connect deeply. We are fueled, lifted and inspired by this kind of sharing.

We cannot measure in exact terms the return on dollars invested for this purpose, but the costs of not doing it are easy to see, and here are a few:

  • Disengagement
  • Depression
  • Disenfranchisement
  • Isolation
  • Suicide

What can we do to foster this deeply meaningful connection in our own lives and workplaces? We can unplug for quiet reflection every day. We can call a friend or family member and have a real conversation that isn’t a text or post on social media. We can take a walk in a park or on a trail and marvel at the beauty of our world, listening to the soul that speaks quietly within us. We can take the time to truly listen to a child in our lives, hearing the awe in their voice about something as ordinary as a delightful frog on the window.

In offices, we can provide a meditation or reflection space inside or out where people can go and be still for 10 minutes. We can bring in providers who teach mindfulness, yoga, and meditation. We can organize retreats in natural settings with downtime for people to connect with nature. We can invite someone we don’t know out for coffee and have a soulful conversation.

There is so much we can do to feed our spirits, the very spirit that will sustain us through all of life. And we all deserve that. Every one of us does.

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