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It Wasn’t About The Eclipse – Why We Crave Connection And How To Nurture It

Nicole Dupuis' coaching background started in the financial industry where she first discovered the art of tackling topics such as confidence, communication, goal setting, and time management. Nicole's coaching encourages clients in self-discovery and exploration, guiding them to the most impactful action.

 
Executive Contributor Nicole Dupuis

Did you watch the solar eclipse this month? Yeah, but did you buy cookies for the occasion? Did you take the day off of work? Did you buy glasses online? Did you share your “new beginnings” ritual on social media?


Two women waiting for solar eclipse

In the days leading up to this year’s solar eclipse, I couldn't help but be more mesmerized by the fuss around the eclipse, than by the eclipse itself. I noticed ads from Insomnia Cookies and Krispy Kreme in my social media feeds, selling special sun and moon treats. I received out-of-office replies from colleagues because they closed that Monday so the team could observe the eclipse. I had a client the day of the eclipse, mid-sentence, ask to end our session early because he didn’t want to miss a thing (cue Aerosmith song).

 

On Monday, April 8th, I, too, watched the eclipse with those funny glasses, and it was something to see. But, I have been way more interested in how much attention we gave this event than the event itself. There was an eclipse in 2017 and though the path of totality (a term I never thought would be in my vocabulary) was greater in the 2024 eclipse, there were still an estimated 215 million US adults watching the eclipse in 2017, according to NASA (I feel like they are smart, they wouldn’t mess that type of thing up).* That’s A LOT of us.

 

I was working in 2017, I had social media in 2017. I had a similar group of friends, I was in communication with my family, and I was even dating the same person (now husband). I don't remember the eclipse of 2017. And I don’t mean I don’t remember what it looked like or whether I could see it from my geographic location. I don’t remember the pomp and circumstance. I don’t remember people sharing funny memes on social media, or texting my friends about it, or people taking time off of work, or schools closing, or people preparing baked goods.

 

What changed?

 

The answer is: a lot; a lot has changed. In 2017, we were in a carefree pre-pandemic era (similar to the Cretaceous era but with fewer dinosaurs). We had not yet experienced a global pandemic and shutdown, political turmoil, worldwide protests, and what felt like constant social unrest.

 

During those dark, uncertain days of the first year or so of the pandemic, there was a lot of effort put towards helping communities emotionally come together, when the option of physically coming together was, well, not an option at all. I remember becoming obsessed with television shows like Tiger King and texting friends about it. I remember trying viral recipes and posting pictures on social media. I remember apps like House Party that allowed social groups to celebrate birthdays (including mine) from a distance. We grabbed onto anything that made us feel connected.

 

Our needs as humans have shifted since then. Because of what we have experienced as a planet, we are prioritizing community, connection, and a feeling of togetherness. People are working remotely (and loving it, by the way) but wishing they had more of a personal connection with their colleagues. They are just begging for a partner with whom to spill the tea! Now more than ever, people want to tune into television shows that others are watching, try the new TikTok recipe that went viral or watch the eclipse. We just want to feel included, connected, a part of something.

 

Those who stood outside in their front yards looking up at the sky on April 8th didn’t necessarily watch the eclipse or even read about it or post something on social media because of the natural phenomenon that it is. It was more to connect with others. “Did you see the eclipse? What time will you be able to see it? Do your eyes hurt too?”

 

So how can we feed that need for connection?

 

As a friend: Be more transparent in what you are interested in with your friends. The show you are watching, the book you are reading. Tell your friends what your current infatuation is and encourage them to join in. Buy them a copy of the book you are reading or ask them to meet up for coffee to chat about the most recent episode of Vanderpump Rules (and I am happy to fill in here). Let your interests become shared interests with those who may also be seeking some connection.

 

As a colleague: Schedule time for personal connection. No, you don’t have to get into the details of your marriage or your mortgage payments. But maybe it is spending a little more time talking about what people are planning for the Summer, or what they thought of the UConn game, or OMG did you feel that Earthquake?!?!? These few minutes of connection may appear unproductive and perhaps getting in the way of your end-of-quarter targets, but in reality, these moments build trust, create more transparency and dependability, and enhance communication overall amongst the team.

 

As a leader: Don’t build arbitrary forms of connection. Happy hours that no one wants to attend or pizza parties that become stale (that pizza is never as good as you think it will be), are not rooted in authentic connection. Rather than build an artificial community, create an environment where it is safe and encouraged to nurture authentic communities. Allow for team members to take time to volunteer. Create a budget for office events and let the team brainstorm ideas on how it will be used. Encourage collaboration, even when it may not seem necessary.

 

As a human: Celebrate as much as you can. Anniversaries, birthdays, promotions, eclipses, Star Wars Day (May the 4th). Create opportunities to come together. Community enhances our ability to show up in the best way possible and it spurs a ripple effect of embracing others' similarities and differences. The Beatles probably said it best:

 

“Come together, right now!”

 

 

Nicole Dupuis, Productivity & Leadership Coach

Nicole Dupuis' coaching background started in the financial industry where she first discovered the art of tackling topics such as confidence, communication, goal setting, and time management. Nicole's coaching encourages clients in self discovery and exploration, guiding them to the most impactful action. Nicole coaches leaders in Fortune 100 companies, and small business owners in industries such as finance, tech and marketing. She has clients in over 5 countries and her company, Find Clarity Here, prioritizes finding clarity above all else.

 

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