Take a moment and think about all of the people you have met in the past year, whether in a business or a social context. Honestly there seems to be less and less difference anymore. How many people was it? 10? 50? 100? How difficult was it to meet them? The odds are that the initial connection might have caused some nerves and anxiety, in the worst case, but you made that connection with little difficulty. Now let me ask you one more question?
Was that just a quick meeting, a brief connection, or did you work to build a relationship?
Relationship building is much more difficult. The novelty of our initial interaction has worn off and we are left to further explore and understand another person. Relationships are a matter of investment in another person. This step can be far more frightening than the anxiety we feel at an initial meeting because it calls on us to have faith in someone we are still getting to know. As a dear friend of mine says though, "Relationships are a mess worth making."
In this spirit I wanted to document some reconnection with members of the original 100 Connections whom I am building deeper relationships with. As I endeavor to tell new stories of fascinating people all around us, I will also tell the stories of these new relationships, these new investments and the amazing things I learn from people as we share this thing called life.
I met Biz on Day 35 of the original project. We are both entrepreneurs, people seeking to build our own way in this world, guided by visions and missions beyond ourselves. We are creatives, holders of frenetic minds generating idea after idea. In each others' presence, these thoughts fly more and more wild, becoming almost self-sustaining forces of nature. You can't help but feel the pull of your creative mind, the energy of ure creation, when you are in the presence of Biz. It's his gift, lifting the veil from your eyes that tells you what you can't do and instead letting you view what is truly possible.
Some things have changed for Biz since our first meeting and it is very exciting to meet my friend in the office for his new endeavor. Biz is leading the Charleston office of Angel Oak Home Loans, working specifically to find out of the box solutions for people seeking a mortgage. As he tells me about it, I can see his passion light up. That's Biz, his enthusiasm and passion are contagious. He is the kind of person who looks for solutions, who knows that life happens, who thinks of people as the wonderful, individual treasures they are, not a checklist or a profile. This is the same friend I shared coffee with that first time, talking about the grind, about the work behind the glamour, about how it's not all "models and bottles."
We catch up for a while, talking about his new endeavor and what I am up to. I tell him about the things that I have learned from this journey to meet 100 new people, from this great leap of faith I have taken. Biz has been watching the whole things transpire. You can see the impact it has had on him personally. it is something I am still not very used to. We talk about lessons in life, how we use those lessons to craft and build, to lift others up and help them avoid the pitfalls we have fallen in. Biz and I share a passion for helping others, for that investment and belief, that guidance to help those behind us avoid the holes we have found. He gives me some feedback on my new ventures, provides me some great insights. I share my thoughts on his. There is no ego in this room, just two friends trying to help each other, two people investing.
Investment in others is something we talk about a lot. We talk about how our time put into other people, put into our relationships, is valuable. He talks about how so many people are willing to throw away that investment for truly trivial things in the long run. You can see the sadness he feels over this. He's right. We are often careless and stupid with how we treat people we have loved for so long, with how we allow our own worship of ourselves to throw away great times and insights, to throw away the great accumulation of life that is a quality relationship. There is a true wisdom to Biz that I love being around, love hearing and being a part of. It is a wisdom born from love and loss, from walking a road that is not always paved, a road often rough and unexplored.
We share lunch and talk about countless things, from school and education to the nature of success, from passion to purpose and everything in between. It is the kinetic motion of thought I have missed from our first conversation. I am a firm believer that you should surround yourself with those who challenge you to be a better version of yourself. This is what Biz is to me. He is driven, full of purpose and vision. Knowing him, watching him and spending time with him reminds me not to ignore the role the heart and soul play in success.
It is easy to count money, but much more difficult to quantify satisfaction.
People bless us with lessons in this life, little pieces of wisdom they carry as a gift through life. These are fragments of our memories, little tokens from life that we are entrusted with if we are bold enough to seek them, and careful enough to cherish them once found. It is from the mouth of my adventurous, brilliant friend with a smile that tells you how excited he is for your idea, that I have learned to define joy and success on different terms, my own. We could all learn from Biz, from his generous heart, his keen mind and his wisdom born of his walk through life. If we take the time to listen we would realize that he did not kill time with us, he invested in us, believed in us and was generous enough to share his story. There are so many reasons this man is my friend.
As our time draws to an end, I am happy that I have spent this time with my friend Biz. I feel energized and excited, happy for the triumphs of my friend, invested in his success and his vision. He feels the same way. We toss a few jokes back and forth then shake hands and move on our way.
It is not the end, but a beginning, a relationship, an investment.