In times of sorrow and tragedy as we experienced in the Boulder shooting this week, our interconnectedness becomes real. We are filled with empathy and feel the hurt and outrage as one, not as disconnected parts. This is being human. It is impossible to detach ourselves from the whole – of our family, our community, and our world – without harming ourselves. We need one another.

CTLF started out as a place to connect, to belong. At times, we placed greater importance on content, innovation, and new ideas to deliver more value. But by far the most important thing we deliver now, and have ever delivered, is connectedness.

We’re fortunate that here in Colorado, many of our entrepreneurs and businesses see themselves as a deeply connected part of the community, interdependent with one another. It’s a big part of why leaders here give and serve one another so freely.

Recently I met one of the co-founders of Etsy, Matt Stinchcomb, and he really made me think about what it means to strengthen the connections between myself and others, our team and our members, our organization and the community. This is a call to something higher, and I hope you’ll join me in answering the call:

“We all make choices. We choose to eat one thing instead of another; we choose what we read, what we watch, where we go online; we choose to buy one item or another item; we choose to take the stairs or ride in an elevator, fly somewhere or stay put; we choose to engage with the world around us or stare into our phones; we choose to listen deeply or to be lost in thought. I say this because we need to spend more time thinking before we act.

And maybe as both entrepreneurs and consumers we should pause and ask ourselves what choices we can make to strengthen the connections among, and create the most benefit for, all of the parts of this interdependent ecosystem. This is what I’m working to do in my personal life and with Etsy. It’s all about choices. The challenge that I give to myself and to you and to your businesses is to choose connection in everything you do and live in fragments no longer.”