Often a business associate or team member is distant enough so that “grabbing coffee” is impractical. Here are a few principles and practices to bridge the distance to their heart.

Principles to live by

Time is still the most precious commodity you can give

Why do we still value handwritten notes sent through the mail? They demonstrate a time investment that may not otherwise be demonstrated digitally.

Nothing replaces time spent, and our finite supply of it is why giving or investing some of it is so powerful.

Don’t underestimate the power of the spoken word

Whether it’s the telephone or Skype, your voice carries additional meaning. Perhaps more importantly, they can hear what you don’t say when you pause and listen.

Trust the power of “showing up”

You don’t always need a “plan.” Serendipity happens when you are present of mind (even if you’re not present in body).

Practices to give you wings

Connect them to something transcendent

Whether it’s God or a mission or a deep personal calling, nothing gets us through hard times or keeps us focused in good times like being part of something bigger than ourselves.

Connect them to value

Your perspective is, by definition, unique. Your reminder to them about how what they’re doing is valuable is valuable is likely a life-accelerator, even if it’s not new information.

Connect them to another awesome someone

Not all meetings and introductions have to be networking for a business purpose. Cool people who meet cool people generate cool connections on their own.

Connect them to the world in a new way

There are so many apps and options online that it’s impossible for anyone to keep up. At one level you might use a new social network or conferencing tool, but at another you might invite them to join you in discovering something together.

The bottom line

We are made to live in community. Some parts of that are irreplaceably location-based, but much of what happens with work and learning are not. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Lead with the example of stepping out of your personal preferences and stepping up to touching someone’s heart.