I originally posted this one a couple of years ago but I’ve made it more challenging this time around.

The purpose of my Live Like it Matters Challenge is to inspire you and me to do something to make a positive difference in the lives of those around us, in the place around us, wherever we are.

The title of this post seems a contradiction then, because after all, we have to connect to make a difference. Every other challenge I’ve issued requires us to connect with others in some way and now my challenge is to disconnect.

The challenge is for you to disconnect from your phone, close your laptop, unplug your mobile devices and step away from any other type of media so you can connect in a real way with real people. The people right around you. At home and work. The ball field, the park and the gym. School, the grocery store, church, and the bank. Put your phone down. Take the ear buds out, put the blue tooth device away, and smile at someone. Even better, speak.

Connect. See. Listen.

I’m as guilty as anyone of being unaware of someone two feet away from me because I’m checking the stats of my blog, or looking at the latest headline.

With all of our connectedness, we’re more disconnected from each other than ever. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat will never fulfill our need for real connection……face to face, heart to heart connection.

The real deal. The kind with voice inflection and eye contact and touch and body language and all the other little nuances of real conversation. No emoji can convey all of that.

This week, for at least 3 hours a day – disconnect. If this seems absolutely impossible to you, then you need to take this challenge even more seriously. During your “disconnected” time, pay attention to those around you wherever you are. Watch and listen. Begin a conversation. Look at the person you’re talking with and give them your undivided attention.

Sometimes the best way to disconnect is to go someplace that has no service. I try to be in a no service zone frequently and one of my favorites is the forest. My youngest daughter and I enjoyed a long hike recently. No service meant we paid attention to each other. We reminisced and finished conversations and learned things about each other. Instead of seeing the latest photo on Instagram, we saw several waterfalls, climbed giant rock formations, and noticed the small ferns growing on top of a rock.

But you don’t have to take a hike to disconnect. Just put the phone down.

Because connecting in a real way matters. Live like it matters.