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Day 19 - We Had a Class Together

Take a moment. Think about how many classes, seminars, training sessions and the like you have been in during your life. I am only 38 years old and I cannot honestly give you a specific number, there have been so many. Now think about those classes. When you walked in, how many people did you see? Better yet, how many of those people did you talk to?

Did you talk to them in class, killing time until it began and fill in those awkward breaks from the schedule? Maybe you spoke to them as part of the training day. Did you ever talk to them outside of that room? Too often we are around people, fascinating, wonderful people, and yet we don't take the time to connect with them, to learn there stories. They become a face, sometimes a very vague one, that we recognize from a class we took one time. After years in the military and its training program, I know this feeling well, and I never liked it. That's why I was thrilled to see Todd Bowers this morning with his handshake, genuine smile and stories.

Todd and I had a class together, as I'm sure you've already figured out. Right as I started this project I took a LinkedIn course taught by Thomas Heath, Todd was there with me. It was an awesome chance for me to tell some new people about this project and maybe get some more connections.

Todd jumped at the chance.

It's easy to see why after you spend a couple of minutes with him. He is an incredibly friendly guy, always wearing a smile and ready to talk. He looks you in the eye and stays present in the moment. For Todd, building relationships with people is fun. He is an incredible listener, not just waiting for his chance to talk, but really drinking in what you are talking about, appreciating your story and thinking about it. That is the definition of being present in a conversation. That is Todd Bowers.

He and I have a common background in sales positions as well as the military. Todd never liked traditional networking either. He loves getting to know people too much. At these events, you know the giant cattle calls with free drinks and an inability to hear yourself think, he just encounters too many agendas. While he worked in a field with all aspects and lengths of sales cycle, he still found it important to build relationships, genuine ones. Todd is genuine.

It's in everything he does. He doesn't hold a lot back, talking with me this morning about wondering what the next step for him is professionally. What I am doing is interesting to him, because it is living for a purpose. He talks about the shallowness of accumulation and wanting more, but also the fear of not being able to provide or even survive. We both talk about mindset, about how so many people sho succeed may not even be the best at what they do, from a raw talent perspective, but that they just won't give up and push through. '

We talk about knowing yourself, how it takes a long time to really discover who you are. Positions and titles, homes and cars, even how we so often describe ourselves to other people by using our occupation or even worse, our business card. I tell Todd that the greatest struggle for writers is the twofold journey of finding your own voice and then the courage to put it out into the world. Todd tells me about his friend who writes so well about the books he has read or whatever is on his mind, about his courage in putting it out into the world without worrying about what other people think. You can see how he admires that, and how he loves to learn from people putting things into the world.

Todd Bowers likes information. Seriously, we cover a whole mess of topics, from Harris' Hawks to craft beer to music. He has played music, and loved it, since he was a child, Guitar, banjo, Todd loves music. He loves the world around him. There is a light in his eyes, a wild excitement to learn new things. You can see this same light in the eyes of kids when they are learning about something exotic like dinosaurs, space, the deep sea or even when they are enraptured in a story. Unfortunately, it is a spark so many of us lose as adults when we see learning as a chore instead of a joy.

I like Todd Bowers. He's a great guy. Soon he and I will find our way to some local spot for beers. Hopefully they will have some good music playing and I can follow Todd down that road, but in any case we will have a great talk, a good handshake and smile a lot.

Favorite Dinosaur: Velociraptor

Why: Because of how they hunted in pairs. Todd tells me about how he loves seeing the Harris' Hawks at SEWE, perched atop the Embassy Suites in Charleston, swoop down and hunt as a pair in their demonstration. (I have never seen this, but after Todd's description I won't miss it.)

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