What I Teach is Stupid…Unless

Human connection.

It’s kind of important.

Sales, leadership, innovation, marriage, parenting, life.

It makes us better at everything we do – and it makes us happier and healthier in the process.

But how do you create more of it?

There are a bunch of ways. I should know. I make my living by helping individuals and organizations do just that.

But do you want to know a secret?

There’s only one thing that really matters.

In fact, without this one thing, all the other ways I teach suddenly seem rather silly. Or even downright stupid.

Let me ask you something. How can you tell whether you feel connected to your co-workers? How do you know that you’re part of a solid, unified team? When was the moment you formed a relationship with your best clients instead of just exchanging transactions?

Exactly what day did your spouse begin to trust you?

Human connection isn’t a tangible thing. There is no way to pinpoint the moment it arrives between two people. You can’t objectively and scientifically measure people as either “connected” or “not connected.” There isn’t a gene, or a facial expression, or even a magic word that is a dead-giveaway for connection.

For example, does smiling create connection?

Well, yes…and no.

One smile is not going to magically and instantly turn two complete strangers into besties.

Is it a good start? Of course.

But did I write to you just to tell you the “secret” of smiling?

No way. I didn’t immerse myself in human connection research for years just to come down the mountain with stone tablets chiseled with “Thou shalt smile more”.

It’s silly. Stupid even.

I KNOW people think advice like that is stupid because they tell me things like, “Tim, that’s stupid advice.”

Just this week I got a comment on one of my YouTube videos teaching some of that “stupid” advice. Here’s what he wrote:

Scam. Don’t work. I’ve been a servant leader for over a decade and still am. People are going to suck unless they decide not to.

Yeah. You sound JUST like a servant leader. And I’m confused. Why are you still claiming to be a servant leader if it’s a scam and doesn’t work? (I mean, if it “don’t work.”) And oh by the way, you’ve totally busted my “scam” of posting free videos on YouTube. I’m so embarrassed now that my operation has been exposed.

Look, I don’t know this guy and I certainly have no way of knowing whether he has in fact been a servant leader for a decade and counting.

But I’ve heard this type of thing before and it always boils down to the same problem.

They’re all missing the “One Thing”.

Yes, they know how to connect. They smile, they say “thank you,” they turn off their cell phone during the meeting, they ask about your day and listen politely, etc. etc.

What they don’t have is CONSISTENCY.

They smile at a prospect and then claim that smiling “don’t work” when they don’t make the sale.

Nope. Connection requires small moments, over and over, consistently.

It’s like building trust. Or falling in love.

Hard to achieve in a moment, but easy to destroy in a moment.

If connection is going to “work” for you, you must prioritize it. Every day. Every time. You must find and create tiny moments of connection. Nothing Earth-shattering. Just go for 1% improvement every day. It will add up, I promise.

That’s the whole point…it adds up. Connection is cumulative. It’s long-term. It’s not a technique. It’s a trait.

So become a person who consistently prioritizes human connection. Develop the trait. Build the habit. Switch from a sprint mindset to a marathon mindset. Take the road less traveled in a technologically advanced world of social media, texting, and artificially intelligent toys.

And what the heck…smile more.

4 thoughts on “What I Teach is Stupid…Unless

  1. Paula Kelley

    Love you beyond words! I live in a very challenging relationship that requires very HARD work. Your advice is stellar and oh so needed. Some relationships seem easy, others not so much. BUT, with a third party, GOD, in the relationship and a determination to keep on trying by BOTH parties it can last. To prioritize human connection and turning to the Lord when it all seems so impossible, IT CAN WORK AND LAST. Both parties have to work at it or it will fail but it can improve if both consistently work at connecting better and becoming a better version of yourself each day. Love reading your posts. You are a gift!!!

  2. Katherine Zupan

    I appreciate that you mention both consistency & prioritizing together. This is it!!! In marriage, parenting, work, servanthood, 😉 – everything. I also am thankful you shared that, “It is long term.” This definitely helps us to keep things into perspective and get into the marathon mindset rather than expect instant gratification and then be disappointed when it’s not achieved.

  3. Troy Clogg

    The best news about the self proclaimed “servant leader “… is that he claims to still be one . So he has not given up ! Still hope that he can put god first , others s find and himself last … keep up the great work Tim and make today’s seminar a great one 😎👍

  4. ed fox


    Keep it up. It’s WORKING for you… and that’w what’s important.

    You have to want it. I try not to hang out with people who can’t smile, or won’t smile. It’s so easy. You give it out, it cost’s you nothing… and you usually get it back.


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