With the semester ending early on campuses and brothers taking classes from home, many SigEps have asked how to keep brothers connected. To meet that need, we’re adding content on SigEp’s Instagram page and holding twice-weekly meetups. These are intended to help you and your members develop now while getting you ready to hit the ground running when in-person classes resume.
Patrick Gallagher, San Diego State ’14, currently works for SFELC, an organization that empowers engineering leaders in Silicon Valley and around the West Coast. He served on the SigEp Headquarters staff for several years as a new chapter development director and is a frequent facilitator at the Carlson Leadership Academies.
Many of us are getting used to a new way of life with constant video calls for work, school, family and friends. It’s easy to become used to routine and get fatigued with these non-stop virtual interactions. Patrick shared insights on creating meaningful experiences from “The Power of Moments” by Dan and Chip Heath.
Most people focus simply on how to prevent pitfalls, yet, we can go beyond this approach and create moments that matter and mean more to us using these four simple elements:
These are things that cause an experience to rise above the routine. They make us feel joyful, surprised and engaged. You can add things to your life that heighten your sensory awareness. Your brain craves novelty, and when you heighten your awareness you create this sense of novelty. For example, Patrick sometimes adds novelty to the day by performing the whole Starbucks experience for his roommate — misspelling the name and announcing the coffee preparation. He also created his own holiday, elevating movie night by creating a John Williams Appreciation Week. He watched Jurassic Park, eating meat and vegetables like a dinosaur, wearing a safari hat and listening to the movie soundtrack all day. Incorporating humorous moments like these into our lives can disrupt our routine and boost sensory awareness.
Connection happens when you exchange meaningful information. In groups, connection is amplified when you unite people toward a meaningful goal or have a shared experience. This creates connection quickly. The simplest way to do this is by asking questions that elicit meaningful responses. Patrick recommends Art Aron’s 36 questions as a good place to start to instantly build and deepen relationships.
Pride is generated when people feel valued and appreciated, so help spark pride in others by recognizing them and amplifying their milestones. This can be achieved by creating small celebrations in the context of our larger lives. Patrick uses the ongoing nightly standing ovation for front-line healthcare workers in New York City as a great example. This is a unifying experience that publicly recognizes other people, which builds pride. Authentically acknowledging others is something we can all do, and it makes us all feel valued.
Insights are “aha” moments where you discover something new about yourself. They create moments of self-discovery within a short period of time. When you’re asking good questions, you incite reflection and help others relate your shared experience to their own lives.
These four concepts reinforce each other. When you deploy several of these ideas together, you can amplify the routine moments of your daily experiences and make memories that will last a lifetime — even while social distancing.