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  • Tracy Hooper

The Value of Connection

Yesterday was rough. 

My husband, Henry read the manuscript for my first book called, The New Hello. He said, “It needs organization!” Then, my editor fired me with one sentence, by email. And, I ate an entire bag of Trader Joe’s organic popcorn in one sitting!

Yesterday wasn’t a total loss. My daughter, Margaret and I had fun on the phone, checking out rental websites in NYC for a new apartment for her now that rents are dropping. Henry and I binge-watched The West Wing. And, I got my first manicure since March. Thanks to Cindy.

Is a manicure a luxury? Yes. It’s also a lifeline for connection these days. 

Cindy’s from Vietnam. She’s been a manicurist for 20 years. I’ve known her for 10. At my last appointment, Cindy was getting ready to travel back to Vietnam to visit her parents who have been very ill. During quarantine, I’ve thought about Cindy a lot. Did she get to be with her parents before the world shut down? That was my first question.

“Did you get to go home?


“How are your parents?”

“My mom died.”

“Oh Cindy, I’m so sorry. When?”

“In April.” 

She said, “I talked w my mom every day and on her last day, I Facetimed with my whole family for 24-hours.”

Is a manicure a luxury? Yes and No. It’s the big conversations and the little ones that we all miss. Those in-person, human-to-human connections even behind Plexiglas and masks.

If you’re a leader, you know that none of us was equipped to automatically switch to leading our teams virtually or presenting nonstop on Zoom. And the more people on your team or in your organization, the harder it can be to hold space for everyone, including your peers — leaders like you who are trying to figure it out, too. 

How do we keep our culture going? How do we create culture especially for new hires who don’t have those natural conversations in the hallways and in lunch rooms? And, how do you take care of yourself?

My advice? Be kind to yourself.

This is a card I found at Trader Joe’s when I bought the organic popcorn. It says, “Be kind to yourself. You’ve been through a lot.” I fact, I bought 10 cards. I’m sending them to people I care about to encourage them to “Be Kind to Themselves.”

And, I have one by my laptop for me! I listed all the ways I am trying to be the business owner, colleague, wife, mother, daughter, sister, citizen and friend, that I’m used to being and that’s challenging right now. 

As for The New Hello? There is good content in that book. Yes, it needs organization. And, yes, I’ll find a new editor. And, when it’s published, you’ll be the first to know! 

Until then, “be kind to yourself.” And, if you’d like to bring The Confidence Project to your team or work with me 1:1, virtually, please email us. Thank you. 

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