How many places do you visit in a given day? We all have our routines, the paths that guide us through our day-to-day lives. Our favorite coffee spots, our gyms, the networking groups we go to, the local restaurant or bar are all stops we make as we move through life. Take a moment and think about those regular spots. Picture the things that make them comfortable, familiar. Maybe it's something on the wall or the way the room looks at a given time of day. More than likely it includes the people you see there constantly. When I was a kid, Sesame Street asked "Who are the people in your neighborhood?" If you are a little older than me, and even if you are the same age, you probably remember at least one regular from Cheers. Those shows were scripted, everyone knew everyone. Why is it then that we all go to so many of the same places, see so many of the same people, but don't know anything about them?
I can imagine the myriad of answers coming my way now, but the reality is that we all simply fail to take the time to get to know those people. I do it too.
Andy Larson and I are at the same place almost every Wednesday morning. HIs name and face are completely familiar to me, as mine are to him. We both even worked in the same industry at the same time. Up until today, I could probably count the amount of words we said to each other on both hands. That's a true shame, but it is great that we got to correct it today.
Andy is instantly welcoming. Look at the picture. That smile is not for the camera, that smile is genuinely for every person Andy meets. I cannot remember ever seeing him without it. One of the many things we talked about was how we show what is in front of the curtain to people more often than we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and show a glimpse behind it. A lot of people wear a smile, they put on the show of happiness, but Andy's is genuine. Here is another person who truly loves what he does. That said, this was not his first and only job. He is a true entrepreneur, building businesses and moving on when it is time. The knowledge he has in that field alone is incredible. Even more incredible is that he does not need to give you a speech to convey it, he does so in quick and simple language.
Both Andy and I believe in building relationships. We talked at length about wanting to get to know someone before offering referrals or jumping right into business. We love talking and connecting with people, and we love authenticity. Perhaps that's what keeps us at the same Wednesday gathering, the authenticity of the people we know there and the comfort in their presence every week.
Andy was one of the first volunteers for this project. He is enthusiastic for people, not just for what he is doing. He shares and supports people as a hinge pin for community. I've always felt that way about him, but it is wonderful to see those initial impressions were accurate. He is genuinely excited for this project, asks me about the future and ponders what it will look like at Day 50, 80 or even 100. How many people will I connect with beyond the 100? Where will they come from? What will I learn? How will I be changed?
Our discussion never seems rushed, but the hour we haver speeds by in the blink of an eye. It feels like only moments and then we find the time at an end, but we both agree we need to do this again.
Take a look around right now, wherever you are.
What does it look like?
Who is in the room? Do you know them? Why not?
Any moment is fleeting, existing perfectly only in one instance for the people who are present then shifting as it moves on to memory, different for each person. It can never be the same as it was in that one time, and it can only be had by allowing yourself presence to experience it.
Take a moment and talk to the person you always see. Have the courage to have a moment.
Favorite Dinosaur: T Rex
Why: The memes crack me up.