Episode #117 Creating Connections

May 20, 2022

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 You are listening to My Freedom Grove podcast with Gretchen Hernandez, episode 117.

Welcome to My Freedom Grove Podcast, your calm space for practical help to get your dream business up and running while being authentically you and taking care of your mental health. I'm your host, Gretchen Hernandez. I'm so glad you're here!



Hi, my strong friends. Hey, I don't know if you can hear a little bit of an echo, I can kinda hear it as I'm in my office recording this. I'm so excited. My new office wall and door are complete. I've been living in a construction zone for about two months trying to get this office wall built. So now my office is really, really big. Oh my gosh. It's so spacious.


I took a bunch of stuff out of it so that I could clean up all of the drywall dust. And so that's why you're hearing a bit of an echo because there's nothing to really dampen and absorb the sound. So I'm gonna have to do a few tweaks, but I feel like I'm really hitting an important milestone in my life. And in about eight days, I'm gonna be turning 50. And even having this change in my office, it just feels like a milestone. And a 50th birthday is definitely a milestone.


And I feel like my business is even hitting some milestones. I'm going to be releasing The Connection Factor Course here in the next couple of days. And I have a lot of good feelings about this. I know this is gonna help so many people to be able to create some consults in their business. I know that's one of the biggest struggles that I've seen entrepreneurs having. And so I decided I would help you guys out. I developed my own special method for connecting with people where they wanna work with me, right away.


I wanted to be able to share my secret sauce with you. It's a little bit different, a little unconventional, but I think it works great. So anyway, wanted to share that with you. Another important milestone is happening tonight when I record this. You're gonna hear this on Friday. This will have happened the night before I'm recording this the day before you hear this podcast.


Tonight is going to be the first big social call for my clients. I work with some pretty fantastic people, and I work with a lot of people, one-on-one, and I work with some people in my membership and all of the folks that are working on creating businesses. It's time to bring them all together because they all have similar values. They all can learn from each other, help each other, and create some great friendships and possibly collaboration opportunities. I decided to offer this extra thing as a bonus to all of my clients once a month, we all get together and have a social call where it's just a comfortable conversation between a whole bunch of friends that all tend to have the same goal in mind.


I can't wait for this to happen. I know some magic is going to happen and it's all because of connection. And that's what I wanted to talk with you about today is creating connections in your business for your clients and connection for you for your own mental health and for the health of your business.


The Power of Connection


I learned along the way that connection is the fastest way to learn, grow, and rise. What do I mean by connection? A connection can be quite a few things. A connection can be a connection to another human being, just talking with them and having that friendship, that social support. Connection can also be connecting all of your missing pieces together. You might have different things that you need to know, knowledge or skills. And so connecting all of the pieces of those different knowledge skills together to create your full puzzle.


There are also all of the opportunities, right?


We can have amazing opportunities for ourselves if we have enough connections, think you've heard that before. It's not about what you know, it's about who you know, and that can prove very true because not only do you know the people that are in your immediate connection, but all of those people are connected to other people. And those people are connected to other people. Your connection might be as that single point of contact.


Have you ever heard of Kevin Bacon in the seven degrees of separation? Everybody's connected in some way. So you can end up learning, growing, and rising just from being connected to all of these different people because they know someone that you might need to know. Or they know someone that has information that you need.


And then connecting the pieces as far as data and strategy, that can be super helpful.


So you can do that in a variety of ways of connecting all of those data pieces, almost like a dot-to-dot puzzle. And then once you have them all and you figure out in what sequence they go, all of a sudden you can draw that line and everything's perfectly clear. You're like, oh my gosh, it's just, sometimes you don't have all of those data points that you need. When you go out in the world, you get to ask people questions and they can start to provide those missing data points that you needed. And all of a sudden, voila, you know the whole picture.


I want to get into the specifics of the learning, the growing and the rising to give you some ideas around connection.


Learning Through Connection


When we're thinking about learning, one of my favorite terms is Gemba. So Gemba is a Japanese word that means go seek to understand.


So, as you know, I've worked in biotech for a very long time, and it's all about lean manufacturing. And we learned from Toyota. Toyota, years and years, decades ago came up with the lean production system. How to be able to manufacture things in a faster, easier, more cost-effective way. Gemba was one of the things that they would do. And it's basically like a field trip. You have some kind of struggle that you have. Go find somebody else that had that struggle and learn. How did they experiment? What were all of their different findings as they did multiple experiments? And then what was their final solution? If it is something where it's not a struggle, it is an innovation then where can you go to find people that might have innovated?


And you can get inspiration from outside of your own industry to go see how other people do things because maybe you can figure out a way to do that in your own business. And it completely revolutionizes everything.


So when I was still working at Genentech, I would take people on Gembas. The last couple of years before I left we were creating visual management systems for each of our departments and their subgroups underneath. And it was almost like having a metrics dashboard, but it was all out on walls on pieces of paper. We made it really easy for people to collect data, be able to see if something was working or not working, and then collect what are their obstacles and how could they experiment through it? Sound kind of familiar?


I got myself very familiar with everybody's different visual management systems. I would study them, learn, see what it was that they were up to, what kind of experiments they were doing and how their metrics were doing. Then as I'm working with my clients, if I could tell that they were struggling with something or they wanted to innovate something, I would take them on a Gemba.


We'd go on a field trip to another department within this very large complex, so that they would have a chance to first see the visual management, look at the other team's metrics, see the different experiments, the different obstacles that they were working through. And then to have an opportunity to talk with someone from that group. The person from that group whose board we were looking at would be able to come and provide some extra detail, some story about everything that they went through to come up with their final solution.


And it was really interesting because now my client, they would be able to accelerate their progress because they didn't have to start with experimenting from the ground up. Somebody else had already done all of these different experiments and could let them know what are the things that worked, what are the things that didn't, and then what about this final solution proved to be ideal?


So then my client would be able to possibly go just straight to the solution and cut out all of that middle part of doing the experiments.


I also got to do this by taking our leadership team to a completely different company. We were looking at ways that we could still keep a plant up and operational while doing maintenance activities. So I actually scheduled a Gemba out at the Sacramento international airport. So we got to go and see how they did all of the maintenance at an airport, but still allowed all of the planes to come in and keep flying.


And so when we get that opportunity to go on a Gemba, we get to see things that we didn't even think to ask about. And that's where innovation really comes in. We start to see this other world, something that we've never experienced before we get to see how they're setting things up.


Some of the challenges, some of the really great wins and innovations, and then start to think, well, how could I apply that in my own business? Right? That's a learning opportunity.


When I started off on my own as an entrepreneur, one of the things that I decided to do was a Gemba, but of the mind instead of business processes.


Many of you know, that I have a Wednesday night men's support group called Men's Feelings Matter. And in there the guys get to come and it gives them that safe place where they can talk about any struggles that they were going through. And also talk about the wins that they've had that week. What gets to happen is they are learning from each other. They're getting a glimpse into somebody else's life and then learning how they problem solved through things. And oftentimes the other guys might have already experienced the similar struggle that another person is talking about.


And so then they're able to offer their support saying, Hey, this is how I experimented through it. Or maybe here's another way of looking at it because I experienced that too, but from the other side of it.


When you get to learn other people's perspectives, all of a sudden it changes everything. Your solution to a problem becomes so much more tangible and clear because now you have all of the pieces of the data and you get to learn from other people's experiences.


One of the other things that I do is benchmarking. And so sometimes this is a very full immersive Gemba that I'll go on so that I can benchmark, but a Gemba gets you really into it so that you learn so many more details. So spending money to go to a workshop or a retreat is a great way. And so on some of these, I go, not only to learn the information that's being presented to me at that workshop, but also to see how the workshop itself is set up as far as like an agenda and what kind of exercises they're doing.


I'm also sitting back and observing the dynamics of the people that are in the workshop. So even though I'm a client of the workshop, I'm stepping back as an observer as if it was my workshop to see was this effective for the people that are there? Because then I can take the things that worked, the things that didn't work, things that I would do differently.


All of that helps me to decide what I wanna do in my business. Is it something that I would want to include or not, and going outside of my industry is even better because then I get to innovate.


If you have a learning style that is learned by doing, creating these connections between you and other people, you and other workshops, or other businesses, other products, and going out and doing Gembas, this can be a great way for you to learn a lot faster, right?


We can learn from books. We can learn from podcasts. We can learn from taking a course or taking a class, but sometimes that full immersion experience can give you a completely different perspective on it. Right?


It's one thing to read something in a book it's completely different to experience it yourself. Right?


Growth Through Connection


Let's talk about growing. Connection is my favorite way of growing. In fact, if you haven't heard me tell you some of the backstory on why I named my company, My Freedom Grove, it's named after Redwood groves.


Redwood trees, you know, the ones that can grow to be thousands of years old, well, they do that by connecting with each other's roots systems. So they actually have pretty shallow roots, which is kind of scary. If you think about these gigantic trees with shallow roots, but they intertwine their root systems.


And by doing that, they help hold each other up. So if one tree has adversity, the rest of the trees can hold it up. And then if all of a sudden, one of them has overcome that adversity. It becomes the strong one. So if the other ones are facing it, it can hold them up. So that connection is helping them all to grow and to thrive and to be resilient.


I think the same thing can happen with human being. We've all gone through something. When we form those connections with other people, we can talk with them to find out, did they ever go through this struggle that you're going through right now. Or if they were trying to believe something about themselves that they didn't quite believe yet, right? From a personal growth standpoint, what were some of the mindset shifts that that person went through?


These connections can be made in person or virtual. I also like to use books. I was just talking with one of my clients about Viola Davis's book, and she has gone on to have an amazing life. But in the book, she's talking about her struggles from early childhood. And it's amazing everything that she's sharing. I can't wait to go and read this book so that I can learn more.


But throughout the book, I know that I would learn what her mindset shifts were. At the beginning, when she's going through everything, what was she thinking about herself? What was she thinking about the people around her? And then every year as she is growing through all of that and healing through all of it, what were those different modalities that she used? What were the mindset shifts that she used? How did she become the person that she is now?


By learning from other people, that way we can help to grow ourselves. We're learning from other people's stories and their experiences.


We can also grow through our social circles. In a previous episode, I talked about thought community (Episode 69; Thought Communities). If you ever find yourself around a lot of people, that kind of negative, and it's really bringing you down, you might wanna consider if there's another thought community that you can go into. Because you might also believe those original thoughts and beliefs of that social circle that you were in. But what if you were to go and spend a little time in another one to see.


It's interesting because your mindset will just automatically start to grow on its own just by being around other people. And then you can be a little selective. You can decide when is the right time for you to go and spend time in another thought community?


I found this was really helpful as I was trying to progress in my financial stability. Growing up as a kid, I didn't always have all of the opportunities of the people around me because financially my family didn't have as much as other people. But my mom always put us in more expensive neighborhoods than what we really belonged if you looked at our bank account. But it helped to stretch me. I could see how people that had more money than us, how they live. And then I started to assimilate and I wanted to live like that too.


And although I did have some teasing growing up, I also knew what it was that I wanted. And I stretched myself to learn those kinds of skills and to learn even the language. Language definitely changes between each of those income levels.


So now, as I look at where my family lives, it just blows my mind. I can't believe that we live in a house that overlooks the ocean. My husband and I have had a couple of those conversations lately of, oh, we're those people, even though it still doesn't totally feel like it's us. But we've been here for almost three years, but it was because we just kept stepping up into the next bigger level and then trying to grow into that level.


So social circles can be the people that you're around. It can be the neighborhoods that you're around could even be like the stores and stuff that you go to, or the restaurants that you go to. When you go a step higher or even two steps higher, you get to feel what that's like. And when you spend enough time there, then you start to belong. Your mindset starts to shift the activities that you do so that you earn a spot at that table, start to shift.


And even the ways that you start to think about how you can give back to the world through charitable contribution or how you can invest in other people's personal growth, all of those new concepts get introduced to you or your business as you start to connect with other business owners that have possibly been in business longer. Or maybe they've had a different level of success in their business. Maybe they've grown a team. All of those are something that might be a step beyond where you're at now, but by having those connections, you get to experience, what is it like? What is their experience like? What experiments have they been doing? What's working for them? What's not working? So that you can get ready planting seeds for what your future is going to be.


The other thing that's great with having these connections as far as a growth perspective, is that as you're forming those connections and deepening those relationships, you might start to see more referrals coming your way, referrals for your business referrals. Referrals for more opportunities to come to you, maybe doors of opportunity are getting opened. People are now thinking about you when they see opportunities out in the world.


They may see it. And because they've spent time with you now, they're thinking, oh my gosh, this opportunity might not be for me, but it's definitely for this other person that I've connected with. And if you have connected with the right people that have values that are aligned with you, they're gonna reach out to you and present that opportunity to you.


Rise Through Connections


And that's how we go into the final chapter of this, which is how do we rise through connections? Rise can take on several different meanings.




Some of us are still like in that Phoenix stage, we've experienced the ashes and we're now starting to rise out of the ashes. And we're trying to still heal a little bit.


So other people may not see that side of us. They might just see this magnificent Phoenix that looks like they've taken flight. But for those that you trust that you've established those trust connections with, you allow them to see that healing side of you. And when you've connected with enough people that are a little bit different than you they'll have had experiences with healing.


And they might be using other modalities, or they might know of other people out there that provide help with these different modalities. And now they're connecting you with the things that are gonna help you to heal and to rise.


Don't be afraid to try new things just because you try something doesn't mean that you have to fully adopt it. Kinda like going to the buffet, right? There's lots of food out there. Any of them can serve the purpose of filling you, but you go and you try the different things and you see what you like and what you don't like.


When you're making all of these connections, just to remember that you're still sampling, just because you've made the connection, doesn't mean it's a connection for life. You can still spend a little bit of time getting to know them. And if they've connected you with someone that can help you to heal or to rise in some way, remember that's still a sampling. Just because you're connected, doesn't mean it has to be permanent. Give yourself that opportunity to find what really feels good for you.




The next thing is looking at collaborations. You never know when you're gonna be introduced to someone that you've never met before could happen when you're least expecting it. And all of a sudden a collaboration opportunity presents itself. Is that something that you wanna do? Sometimes these opportunities are presented to you before you're ready for them.


So decide, do you wanna take it? And if so, can you communicate at what speed you wanna go for this collaboration?


I know I experienced this great opportunity when I went to Texas, that someone introduced me to another person and it was completely unexpected. Me and the original person, we were getting ready to go out and have a cup of coffee. And he introduced me to someone. And within like the first five minutes, we realized that we had a shared vision. And so now we're actually starting conversations and brainstorming a possible collaboration. That seems like this could probably be much bigger than just the two of us, but we'll see.


It's pretty exciting. So be open to those connections, because you never know what kind of collaborations can happen. And some of your collaborations may not be what you were even originally thinking.


It could be that you have a service provider that helps you. And as you're meeting other people, you're learning that they could use your service providers help also. And now that person becomes the service provider of choice to your whole connection of a network. It's a pretty fun thing to be that person that introduces everybody to that service provider.



And the final part that I wanna talk about with rising is strategy. Strategy has a lot to do with connecting the dots. If you can't see all of the dots, you don't even know how they're connected and strategy. Not only looks at how are the dots connected but also which dot would you spend your time on first and trying to prioritize all of those?


Because when you can see all of the dots connected, you can also understand if you spend time on one dot what happens to the rest of the dots.


So that connection of either data points or other people, and even the dynamics between people, you can see those different connection points and connection points and conversations and activities and anticipate what's going to happen next.


If you're a chess player, you know all about strategy and you are imagining all of the different moves that could happen and what's the best sequence for it. All of that is a connection. And you're paying attention to the other person to understand what are their motives. You're looking at their eyes to see what are they gonna do next. Sometimes your connection is anticipating somebody else's next move. And that you might end up making a move that ends up helping both of you rise together, even though it's separate efforts, right?


Even within a business, you may end up doing something that happens one week that sets the next person up for success so they do even better. But either way, both of you do really, really well because of the timing of your events. It's this great synchronicity between the two of your businesses.


Keeping those connections open so that you can see what are all of the activities by all of the people that are in your business circle and how can that help all of you to rise.


What kind of connections do you want to create? I read a book from Jim Collins called From Good to Great. And it was talking about how solving problems makes you good, but creating opportunities makes you great.


I read another book called Get Big Things Done by Erica Dhawan. Both of these books gave me some amazing ideas on how I could use just my small amount of effort, and when I combine it with connections to other people, it goes way beyond solving a problem. It creates opportunities for myself and creates opportunities for other people.


I love creating opportunities for other people. So how could you do that? How could you create connection for your clients? And if you created connection for your clients, what opportunities become available for them? What are some of those planned opportunities that you think could happen and even better? What are some of the unexpected opportunities that could happen? Those things that could come out of left field.


And it's okay for you to dream big here, like get crazy, get very creative with what it could possibly be because you know, our thoughts create our reality. If we can think of those big, amazing things, we get pretty excited about it. And then we start consciously and unconsciously taking actions to make those things a reality.


My final question for you then is what kind of connections can you create for yourself to create opportunities? And again, go be creative. Dream really big. What unexpected opportunities can you create for yourself through connections?


All right. My friends, I've had fun talking with you about connection. I love connecting the dots. I love connecting with people. I would love to connect you. So if you would like to be part of my world and have me connect you with other people, I would love for us to get together.


I have a couple one-on-one spots that are coming available soon. So if that's something that interests you, please go and schedule a consultation with me. You can go to my MyFreedomGrove.com. You can go to the contact tab to set up an appointment with me directly, or if you'd like to explore what it would be like to work together. Just go to the work with me tab. I have a couple of options there for you, and then let's get together and talk about your opportunities and how I can help you to learn, grow, and rise.


All right, my friends have a wonderful week and I will talk with you soon. Bye-bye.


Thank you for listening to My Freedom Grove Podcast. When you are ready to make your dream business a reality and take care of your mental health, I invite you to join the Unshakable Business Co-Lab. This is the mastermind membership you've been waiting for. There's no limits on your imagination, nor your timeline. We're with you every step of the way. To learn more, please visit www.myfreedomgrove.com/join. I'll see you there!


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