The Lesson: In a work environment where it is easier to become disconnected than it is to form meaningful relationships, how do we stay plugged in? Not just to our work, but to our employees and co-workers. To Dan Schawbel, it’s all about making the effort to establish and nurture friendships, share knowledge, and engage in face-to-face conversation. By taking a step back from the computer screen, and a step closer to a colleague or employer, we can enrich both our work lives and our personal lives – and when we focus on and develop our interpersonal skills, we can become the leaders we wish to see in the workspace.

Notable Excerpt: “Not having your phone is the new vacation. We’re overworked, we’re burned out, people are working longer hours than ever before, without additional pay, and technology has made us on call, 24/7. People answer business e-mail outside of office hours, on vacation, wherever they are. They’re always kind of working. It’s the new norm. It’s almost expected. Busy is no longer a differentiator. Busy is what we’re all feeling, or we think we’re so busy. We think we have all of these friends, but yet, it’s an illusion. Technology has created the illusion of connection, when in reality we have weaker contacts … So we think we have all of these Facebook friends, but Facebook has changed the definition of friendship. Whereas, ‘Who can you really rely on if you’re mentally ill, or you’re in hospital? Who are the three people who are going to call you?’ Those are your real friends. Those are people who are going to be with you for a long period of time.

“It’s like what [Jay Shetty] said to me, he said, ‘I want to be friends with you forever.’ And that hit home so hard … because people, especially men, don’t talk like that … People don’t talk like that. If someone does say that, it really hits home, because it’s like, ‘Wow! What if I can just walk over to the people I really just want to be friends with for a really long time and say, ‘Hey, I want to be friends with your forever.’ That is so powerful. And just going back to the workplace … People spend a third of their life working. So, if you hate the people you work with and don’t extract meaning from the work that you actually do, you’re going to be disengaged, and 85% of the global workforce is either disengaged, or actively disengaged.”

The Guest: Dan Schawbel is the New York Times best-selling author of “Promote Yourself” and “Me 2.0”. He is an entrepreneur, podcast host, and the founder of Millennial Branding and the Workplace Trends website. He has been named one of the top 20 Social Media Influencers by Forbes, and one of the top 16 Brilliant Minds by Huffington Post. His latest book, “Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation”, was published earlier this week.

The Host: After spending years of his young life and athletic career struggling with his own emotional wellbeing, a crippling injury left Lewis Howes without an identity and without any work. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, however, Howes recreated himself as a multi-million dollar media producer, motivational speaker, bestselling author, and podcast host. The ex-football player now spends his days chatting with the most inspirational icons of this generation on his School of Greatness podcast.

Podcast: The School of Greatness podcast is available for download on Soundcloud and iTunes. You can also watch footage of the interviews on Howes’s YouTube channel.

Books: Howes is the author of the New York Times best-selling book “The School of Greatness”: an in-depth collection of lessons and wisdom that he has gathered from interviewing hundreds of the world’s greatest role models and thinkers. Howes’s latest book, “The Mask of Masculinity”, is based on his experience with the dangerous stereotypes and expectations that are placed on men in modern society.

(LISTEN to the inspiring talk below or read the transcript)

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