Sam Norton - Connection Requested
Humans connect with storytelling. The stories in this episode will help you connect with:
Welcome to the Connection Requested podcast. I'm Mark Tweddle. Co-founder of You Tell Yours, providing online team-building events to connect your remote team.
I don't know about you, but I rarely know the people who request to connect with me on LinkedIn. I think a LinkedIn connection should be more than just permission to send me marketing content. And I'd like my LinkedIn connections to be more meaningful and closer to the connections that I make in person.
And the best way I know to create that connection, that human understanding, is through the storytelling exercises that we developed for our team events.
This podcast is all about connecting to our guests, by listening to their stories. So let's jump right in, with our guest’s name story. Two minutes to tell the story of your name with no preparation. No one else can tell that story better than you. You are the subject matter expert after all.
My name is Samuel David Norton, and it's kind of a unique name, but not because it's a unique name at all. It's unique in the sense that I married a woman named Samantha. And so we are Sam and Sam, and I really like that.
I really like the Sam and Sami thing. I think prior to meeting her. If you would have asked me if I would have liked my name, I don't know that I would have, honestly, I know the origins of the name come from the Bible, would come from, you know, a Hebrew. It's a Hebrew name and really common. I mean, honestly, there are so many Sams.
I was always one of, at least four Sam's in my grade growing up. And I wanted to be unique. And so I think I didn't like that aspect of it, but at the same time, it was always really easy for people to remember. It was easy for people to understand. It wasn't like I had to spell it for anyone.
But it did kind of, I'd never had that uniqueness to it, but then when I married Sami, all of a sudden it was unique because we were Sam and Sami. And people kept asking us if we were going to name our son, Sam. And it's like, that's the most obvious thing we could have done, but also the least obvious thing, because can you imagine if we would have named our kids, Sam, and then we would have had Sam, Sami and baby Sam? Yeah, I don't think so.
So that's my name. I think overall I like it, but I like it because of the total package, not just because of the name itself.
Thanks Sam. Now, if you thought everyone's name story would be essentially the same, except for the name. I think Sam may have smashed that assumption.
Next we're going to listen to Sam's story about connection. With this story exercise, I'm less prescriptive in the instructions. There's no starting phrase. You can just talk for three minutes on what connection means to you.
So for me the thing about connection is, it's one of the most important elements of life. I read this book a while back and it talked about the inequality in the wealth gap in America. And one of the things that he concluded by the end of the book was that the wealthy life wasn't just the dollars. Right? It wasn't just the amount of money that somebody had generated or had, you know, possessed by the time that they died. Really what, by the time anybody was on their death bed, the thing that they were talking about, regardless of the amount of wealth that they had was whether or not, there were certain people in the room with them. Whether or not they had spent enough time and said what they needed to say to the people that were in the room. And overwhelmingly, one of the things that he found was that the people who were the most wealthy had the most connections to other people. Which was really interesting because you would think that it would be kind of the other way around.
I think some of the narrative that we've gotten a lot of is, you know, you're wealthy and therefore selfish. Actually, the argument that he made was that the wealth came from the connections. The wealth came from knowing people and being involved and therefore having more opportunity and therefore being exposed to that many more ideas and therefore being more intelligent and things like that.
And really those things are available to everyone. You know, you can connect with people. The ways that I like to connect with people: I have a podcast. I invite people onto the podcast And almost every connection that I have is tied to an institution or an activity.
So like I have my school friends, my people from my alumni group. I have people from my other alumni group from grad school. I have friends from church, friends that I golf with. You know, there, there are certain activities, and it almost is like, the activity is the excuse, really.
Because for whatever reason, we don't want to just say, "Hey, you know, do you want to be friends? You want to just pal around for a little bit."
We have to say, "Do you want to go golfing?" And we ended up spending time together that way.
You know, listening to this story has made me think. Because when I'm talking to people, I often mention things that I've learned or I've read. But listening to Sam, I'm wondering if this practice doesn't actually help me connect to the listener.
To show what I mean here, let's listen to one of Sam's other story exercises.
This one, is a beginning story exercise where the only instruction you have is to start with the words, " The thing about bicycles."
The thing about bicycles is they are your first experience with freedom.
For me as a child, I remember growing up, I lived in Minnesota and the summers we would get on our bikes and we would just ride and go anywhere. And honestly, it was a really rough neighborhood. And when I look back on it, Um, I'm sure my mom, I just gave her fits because I would just get on my bike and ride around the ghettos of St. Paul, Minnesota. But for me, it really did kind of just open up this world to me. It was all of a sudden I could go anywhere and be anyone and do anything. And I think that sense has really stuck with me for a long time. And truthfully, I think that bicycle riding could have been kind of formative to that.
Part of the hallmarks of my personality is that unexplored terrain really appeals to me. It appeals to this sense of adventure that I have. And that really manifests itself, as a child, in the bicycle. To me, it wasn't just a bicycle. It was a ticket to anywhere. Anywhere that my legs could go. Which admittedly was not very far. It's not like I was, you know, a marathoner or anything.
Um, but yeah, that's, that's the thing about bicycles there, your first real sense of freedom. And from there on out, you're just exploring the world, and they can kind of instill that first little sense of adventure and give you a taste of what the world can be like. For me, I loved my bicycle. I still love my bicycle.
I do mountain biking now, but I have always enjoyed it and it's something I like.
Which story made you feel more connected to Sam? Was it the bicycle story or the connection story?
Sam's storytelling has got me wondering. If, when I mention a book or an idea, am I inadvertently hiding or obscuring myself from the listener?
Anyhow. More importantly. Do you know, feel that you're getting to know Sam?
If you looked at his LinkedIn profile right now and you needed a service or advice, would you now be more comfortable having a call with him? I do hope so.
And if nothing else. I hope that you've learned, that Sam Norton is awesome.
I'd love to know what you think. And if you have any comments or questions about this podcast, you can let me know via the comments on the show notes at connectionrequested.com or send a voice message via the Connection Requested page on anchor.com.
Please share this podcast, preferably on LinkedIn.
And keep on having fun, making the very best of connections.
Oh, and of course, SUBSCRIBE!!! 😎