Contributing Author: Tajiri Brackens, Healthy Skin Expert and Fundraising Chair

connectionsThe punchline for a Farmers Insurance commercial is “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.” With 26 years in business, ‘I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two.” What I know is that you can’t succeed in business, or life, without charisma, connection, and character.

In this, the debut of my blog, Tajiri’s Nuggets, I will share my thoughts on wisdom for Next Level Living. Today’s topic is: Connections.

Our 21st century world is technologically connected 24/7. We are connected through an endless variety of cell phones and social media platforms. These platforms have taken us away from authentic person to person connections. Just think, how many times have you been out and seen people in a common area yet none is conversing with one another? Too often, our heads are tilted in a downward position and our fingers are tapping away on a screen. The disconnect can be disheartening.

People are social beings who need to be connected to one another. The most powerful connections are personal connections. Personal connections are essential for good relationships, both personal and professional.

According to Maslow’s ’Hierarchy Theory, we need to be connected on five levels. Level 1 entails basic needs including food, water, air, sleep, i.e. biological and physiological needs essential to staying alive. Level 2, also basic, entails the need for safety and security. Needs for a safe environment, stability, and freedom from fear are included here. Both levels, 1and 2, must be met before addressing other needs.

The next level, Level 3, comprises psychological needs. These needs include the desire to belong to something or someone, i.e. friends and intimate relationships. Level 4 addresses the need for self-accomplishment. This involves feeling good about oneself and the prestige gained from having achieved a goal.

Level 5, the final need, is self- actualization. This need taps into the use of philanthropy and helping others, of achieving one’s full potential. This level involves making a unique creative contribution to the world.

Each level in Maslow’s Theory has one thing in common. The common thread is connection. None of these needs can be met alone. All require involvement of and connection to others.

There are many types of connections. Personal connections include: family, friends, exercise buddies, church members, club members, and the like. Professional connections include: coworkers, mentors, supervisors, etc. For now, I want to focus on the importance of professional connections.

Professional connections can make or break a career. They can soar your business or kill it. It’s simple as that. Doesn’t it make sense to let your connections elevate you?  After all isn’t that why you chose your career or chose to venture out and become an entrepreneur in the first place?

The 3 Cs—charisma, connection, and character have built a legacy of success for me. With intention and purpose, I have mastered the art of connecting with people. I value the humanity of every person and am able to connect with people from all walks of life. I have learned to listen and ask questions so that communication is clear. I pay attention to tone of voice and watch body language for clues as to what a person is feeling.

I have found that when I listen, really listen, to what the other person is saying and honestly share some of my realities that mirror their reality, a genuine connection is made. Once the connection is made, I explore the possibility of subsequent conversations in order to find out how I can serve them through my business. At that point, I have tapped into what it takes to be savvy and successful. Oh yes, my sales have increased too!

Also, I have learned that life in the 21st century requires wisdom and discernment as a part of knowing what to say and what not to say, when to connect and when not to connect in any endeavor.

To sum it all up, it takes two basic skills, listening and being authentic, to make good connections with people you meet. That’s it!

Just use #TajirisNuggets and #NextLevelLiving to learn more.


Tajiri Brackens is a professional Healthy Skin Care Expert and the Fundraising Chair for the Buffalo Soldiers of West Point Association. Tajiri Brackens is a Texas native currently residing in Houston, Texas. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Texas Southern University. Tiger Pride!  She is also a speaker for the Business Men and Women of Color Podcast. Listen to her interview.