Happy summer -- the season when we tell ourselves we'll have plenty of time to finish that project we have put off forever! It's early, so I can't say for sure if I will get mine done -- cleaning out the detritus of my Texas storage unit -- but I can say it will weigh heavy on my conscience if I don't! Keeping Texas memories fresh is helped by all the travel I've been doing there these past months. Returning to a place, and the people I know so well, delivers a host of special pleasures. Lucky me to have the opportunity to provide consulting support to three nonprofit clients with three very different missions. Learning more about suicide prevention, animal welfare, and teaching young people life skills through the game of golf is stretching me. Even more, renewing old connections and making new ones is gratifying in all the right ways. So, thank you to the Humane Society of North Texas, the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation, and First Tee -- Fort Worth for allowing me to help you help others. And isn't that better than cleaning out files from storage?!
Keeping Our Connections Close
Before I moved to New York, I knew I enjoyed meeting all kinds of people, finding out what makes them tick, and nurturing those relationships. When I left Texas, and essentially started over after 30+ years in one place, being a connector in my new home has been the only way I have thrived. Establishing strong connections early on helped me establish roots and stay sane. I remember getting a call from a friend in the winter of 2020 when Manhattan was completely shut down. "I am so lonely," she confessed. "I have been cooped up in my apartment for days on end. I know it's freezing cold, but I just need someone to talk to for five minutes. Could we meet halfway and just wave at each other?" We now know that not being "in person" creates a deep wound -- and for many a mental health struggle -- that we are only just now healing. I highly recommend the book Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World by U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy. He makes the compelling case that being isolated is so significantly damaging to our psyches, it equals a public health threat. One thing I am sure of: we CAN do something about not being connected. How? We can take the initiative. Said another way, we are responsible for both the quantity and the quality of our relationships.
Making Social Connections -- My Story, My Book
During Covid -- on a dare -- I wrote a book describing 15 true stories about my dating life in New York City. Trust me when I say I never planned to date, let alone live to tell about it! But as friends insisted my experiences were over the top funny, I decided why not? When Brooklyn Writer’s Press published Mom…You Just Need to Get Laid: The Adventures of Dating After Divorce, the author’s name on the jacket was my pen name, Kate Somerset. (www.katesomerset.com) I didn’t think I would ever admit to writing the book. Why? Because my brand has been all about leadership, nonprofit management, and advocating for cancer awareness and adoption. But the word got out. So I decided to “own the book” on Valentine’s Day of this year. The reveal has been fascinating. Readers from everywhere – but especially in Texas – have raved about the book. They love the stories, yes. But they also have taken to heart the lessons about fearlessly building connections, staying intellectually curious, and meeting people where they are in life. Even more important, reader praise validates I'm more than my brand. I am me! I have been thrilled to be profiled in the magazine 360 West and invited to speak and sign books. My first public appearance at the end of April in Fort Worth was over the top fun! And my dance card is now filling for private and public events. The next one is a Storytime Summer Happy Hour on Thursday, June 29 in Manhattan, sponsored by Women in Development New York, on whose board I serve. Find out more here! If you are in New York, please come!
Photo credit to Jill Johnson Photography
The Rewards of Being a Vulnerable Connector
These last few months have taught me another life lesson: when you show the world who you are, be vulnerable. Don't be afraid to share your stories. Not everyone will approve, but many will. That's how we nurture connections. And that's how we go home again. Here's wishing you a fabulous summer!