The importance of Bridges

EDIT: I won an HP Magic giveaway on Chris Pirillo’s site ( link later when it is not the middle of the night). This makes me in-eligible for Sugar Jone’s contest. However, I have already met some amazing people and Sugar has given me permission to continue to network with others. I won the contest I did, because of the power and reach of my network of friends and contacts. I will always believe in the power of reaching out to help someone without thought of reward, because eventually it really does come back to you. It is all very surreal right now, I am sure I will have more to share later on. If you are here to network and find other people whose lives you can change, read on and comment. I will reply. If you were hoping to just “gain points” by commenting, feel free to skip this and move on to the next link.

There is great clarity in my mind that one of the things I am best at is being a bridge. Bridges are structures that help to overcome an obstacle or clear a path from one thing to another. We usually think of bridges as wooden, or metal, or perhaps even rope. The word evokes different mental images in different people perhaps a large spanning structure, like the golden gate bridge. Maybe your mental picture is an old log you used to use to cross a stream in the woods when you were a child. For others, the word bridge calls up a scene from an Indiana Jones movie, with a precarious rope bridge barely attached to a cliff over a deep canyon. If you are really a geek, you might even be picturing a bridge in an electrical circuit- essential for converting energy from AC to DC. But I say that some of the most important bridges in our world today are the human ones.

None of us can fix all the problems in the world. None of us can help all the people who need assistance, or provide resources to everyone who needs it. We do all the small things we can to make our immediate world a better place- feed the family next door, donate used clothes or toys, lend a helping hand at the local soup kitchen and we can see the changes around us. It changes the lives of the people we touch and it changes our lives by reaching out. These are so important. In our immediate family, we work hard to teach our children to donate outgrown clothes and toys, to collect cans for canned food drives, to donate time to local animal shelters or to help fight teen drug abuse. They see us donate blood, vote in elections and take an active stance in the community we live in. Those are all incredibly important and I would not want any of them to stop.

But some problems are bigger than what we can tackle on a personal level. Some problems exceed our own personal resources ( time, money, location, mobility) and leave us feeling frustrated. This is where you can become a bridge. You may not have the time to donate to a local animal shelter, but you know three people who do and you can connect them. You may not have the money to put a new roof on someone’s house, but you know of an agency who assists and you get them in touch. You may not be able to grow an extra row in a garden, because your yard is too small… but you know someone at your church or school who has a huge yard.

In the internet age, it is easier than ever to see potential connections. How often have you been online and thought.. “wow, how ironic. I just read about someone trying to figure out how to get rid of their old bed without a truck.. and now this person is blogging about needing a bed. What a weird world this is.” Instead, be proactive. Introduce the person without a truck to the person needing a bed. It does not have to be a formal introduction… maybe just passing on a blog note, or a quick tweet reply to point someone in the right direction. Don’t assume that just because you read something on the internet, everyone else knows it is there. The internet is a big big place, awash in information that often only small numbers of people see.

In the normal course of your online browsing, chatting, blogging and tweeting, take a minute.. when you see a potential connection- be a bridge. You don’t need money or the ability to travel, or to even be well enough to leave the house. You just need to be willing to speak up and point out the connections you are seeing. Convert the crazy alternating current of energy flowing around us into a direct current that can take action and solve problems. Be a bridge and be astounded with how good you end up feeling with all that energy flowing through you.

note: this entry is published in response to a request for the HP Magic give away contest being hosted by the Living-in Theory Blog. If you are interested in what I would do with such great computer loot, you can check out an earlier blog post I wrote on the HP Magic Contest.

21 thoughts on “The importance of Bridges

  1. Great suggestions! I actually try very hard to do that, if I see someone in need and know someone who can help I always try to connect them. And I like to volunteer my help whenever possible. Good luck with the contest!

  2. Thanks for your comment, I appreciate everything you said :)I love how you used the word ‘bridges’ in this post. You’re right, normally I think of bridges as the kind we cross over, but your post put them into a new perspective. I like your writing style.

  3. @heather thanks for the compliment. I have been writing for a lot of years. I find that I have a “writers voice” that comes through when I have something really important to say. You can tell the difference between my philosophical posts and my chatty,”isn’t this an odd life” posts that way. Best of luck to you. I look forward to getting to know you better.

  4. Congratulations! And thank you for your kind comments on my blog. I loved reading this, and thought of instances when I have been a bridge (only I called myself jumper cables LOL) I like connecting people. Great book on the subject is The Go-Giver by Bob Burg. It is not until with give sincerely without expectations of getting anything in return that we realize success.

  5. I have really learned this and the value of it over the last *mumble* 😉 years through my husband. He’s known at the university where he works as “The guy who knows a guy…” I admire his natural knack at connecting with people, chatting with them, learning about them, sharing himself, and putting wheels in motion where there was inertia.That’s a really valuable and, to me, desirable quality. It’s not innate, to be sure. I respect that in him, and in you. Fabulous post. Looking forward to staying connected with you here and through twitter (christinamira). 🙂

  6. @christina I think you are right, it probably does come more innately to some people than others. Since I was blessed with the gift, I do not get “bonus points” for doing what comes naturally- it is just a responsibility for living kindly on the earth. I get bonus points for doing things outside of my comfort zone- like knitting or sewing 😉 Since this is outside of your comfort zone, you get many kudos

  7. I saw you over on #sugarmagic. I’ll be honest with you, I followed you because you had the word “rogue” in your twitter ID, which is my brother’s bird’s name and I have a soft spot for him in my heart. Weird way to choose someone to follow, I know. But, when I read your post on bridges, I was so glad for my quirky, random decision-making process. I agree that you can never know how one interaction, one networking opportunity will impact you or others. The point is to take advantage of them and watch where they’ll lead. I have been so fortunate to meet such amazing people. I went to a tweet up last night—my first one where I met amazing individuals right here in my area that are not only about personal and professional success, but are all about improving the community. I found myself in the midst of people I can partner with to give back as well.Sorry for the long comment. I really liked your post. And, last but not least, major CONGRATULATIONS on winning the contest! I read your plans for sharing the product. Awesome!jyl

  8. Thank you for your comment on my blog, I appreciate it. I’m happy that you won Chris Pirillos contest. He banned me for no reason from the contest, I couldn’t explain the feeling I had when that happened. I had 33 comments on day one, on day two I had 78 then someone reported my article as plaguerized and they deleted my comments without checking, then they found out I didnt and they put me back in and I had to get my comments back, in one night I had 72 comments, I feel I would have won but I argued with the mods and they banned me. I’m happy that someone like you won though.

  9. Congratulations on winning! Your post made me cry… I am going through a very tough time right now and I wish that someone would just stop and help me for a second. I give and I give and I just get taken advantage of… seriously, I kid you not… I am crying after reading this. I am working on getting over this bridge to the beautiful meadow with the greener grass on the otherside…. Great post!

  10. @jyl what sort of bird does your brother have? thanks for the congrats, I so could not have done it without all the tweeps I have grown to know. The whole thing is honestly still surreal…I am waiting for reality to settle in.I have come to believe that following our guts, no matter how quirky,often leads to the most interesting results.

  11. @claire I am sorry to hear that you are having so many troubles. Feel free to tweet me or find me on facebook if you need a shoulder or just want to talk. One of the hardest points for me to learn in my personal balance was that it is important to take care of myself as well or better than I take care of everyone else. For many years I would push and give and end up feeling bankrupt and empty. It was only when I gave my self permission to take care of myself and sometimes saying NO to people that I felt stronger and richer. If it is not too overwhleming, please keep coming back here to watch the saga unwind..

  12. I’m one of the channel ops in Chris Pirillo’s chat, and it was one the most exciting nights I’ve had in a long time hearing the prize be awarded to you! Even hearing you try to wake your daughter! Congratulations and I hope you enjoy the HP computers, and that you have a chance to let us know when they arrive and the other people you get to gift.All my best, Fort ( #chris)

  13. thank you for the well wishing and congrats on winning one of the giveaways! It’s really nice of you to continue with the networking and encouraging people through these rough times. You’re a real gem 🙂

  14. That is really genuinely nice of you to be doing this, and so active and vocal, after you’ve already won and are ineligible for this. Thank you for your inspiring words–it’s easy to see why you already won!!!

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