Wired to Be Social: The Importance of Meaningful Connections

I moved a lot as a child. By the age of nine, I had lived in six cities. I know what it is like to make a real connection with another person. Entering a new school and meeting people for the first time can be unsettling.  This doesn’t change as you grow older. We all want to feel like someone has connected with us.

When I was 16, I moved to another high school. Although I had made several friends, what I really needed was someone to help me find direction for my life.  Fortunately, I met a few adults who were genuinely able to establish the kind of connection that powerfully changes your direction.

Mirror Neurons: Why the Quality of Our Social Relationships Matter

Making meaningful connections is essential for any human being to be able to develop their full potential. We are wired to connect with each other. There is actually a growing body of science that talks about mirror neurons: how our brains create human connection.

These neurons reflect back an action we observe in someone else, making us mimic that action or have the impulse to do so. These do-as-she-does neurons offer a brain mechanism that explains the old lyric, “When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.”

In other words, our social environment profoundly shapes us. Our well-being depends greatly on our relationship with others. It’s a scientific fact that social connections have a positive impact on our lives.

The quality – and not just the quantity – of our social relationships matter. Let’s say, you want to become a musician. Wouldn’t you want to take music classes, under a great music coach, and spend quality time with fellow musicians?

The Power of Meaningful Connections

Everyone wants to be heard. Yet, our own thoughts and the activities around us often distract us from truly listening. But the impact of paying your full attention to someone might just be the key to making a meaningful connection.

A term that has been used for the ability to pick up on clues that allow you to quickly establish rapport and connect with another person is called social intelligence.  A person can have “book smarts,” but can they read another person? Are they able to understand the story of the person in front of them?

Genuine curiosity makes all the difference. Being empathetic and curious, attentive to clues, both verbal and nonverbal, helps establish that meaningful connection. A curious mind will also listen actively and be truly interested in what you have to say.

Psychologists and researchers such as Daniel Goleman talk about attunement, the attention that goes beyond momentary empathy to a full, sustained presence that facilitates rapport.

When we are attuned to someone, we offer our total attention and listen fully. We seek to understand the other person rather than just making our own point.

This is one of the key qualities of an effective coach.

How a Coach Helps Someone Reach Their Full Potential

A coach is someone who has learned the art and science of establishing a meaningful human connection.

And at Herbalife Nutrition, that’s what our independent distributors are passionate about learning more about from our team of experts. Our distributors understand the importance of making meaningful connections and empowering others. They are equipped with training and skills to help others in their journey to become better versions of themselves.

Individuals, especially ones who are attempting difficult goals, sometimes have an internal voice that often is not too supportive. This can be countered by the coach’s voice of encouragement and hope.

When coaches are better attuned with their clients, they have the tremendous ability to synchronize actions, and therefore support an individual towards more positive outcomes. The good news is that the skill of attunement can be learned while guided by specific techniques.

Kent L. Bradley, M.D., MBA, MPH – Vice President, Medical Affairs Nutrition Education

Kent L. BradleyM.D., MBA, MPH – Vice President, Medical Affairs Nutrition Education

Dr. Bradley is a retired Army Colonel, graduate of the United States Military Academy and has a Master in Public Health from the University of Minnesota, an executive MBA from the University of Denver, and a medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland. He is board certified in Public Health and Preventive Medicine and holds a certificate in Corporate Governance from INSEAD.