A good friend recently had her second child and instead of a baby shower, she had a small gathering where guests shared stories and our wishes for her journey through birth and into becoming a mother of two children. It was refreshing to be a part of an intentional conversation that created space to tell a loved one how I feel about her. People were shy at first but the group warmed up quickly and it felt great.
I was at a corporate event last night and 10 speakers took to the stage to share parts of their personal lives with their colleagues. It was so cool. Everyone spoke on different topics but the common thread was that they all spoke about what they really cared about. Again, it was so refreshing to be a part of a conversation that was positive and personal.
I met a brilliant CEO last week who talked about how it’s easy to find people to work for her because she looks for people who lead with their hearts. How awesome is that? And how refreshing to learn that a business executive makes hiring decisions that way.
Thinking about these three moments, I realized that they were refreshing because they’re rare. In our device-equipped society, we spend so much time computing, commuting, and snoozing that there’s not a lot of time left for real connections. Don’t get me wrong, I love blogs and read a bunch regularly. And lots of them are very personal. But unless you know the person writing, it’s just not the same damn thing as talking face-to-face. And I mean really talking. Having lean-in moments that you find yourself thinking about for days afterward. And maybe telling other friends about too.
So why is it rare? Well, for one thing you need to be present to have those magical moments. And it’s kind of tiring to be present all the time. Especially when there’s so much good stuff around us to help us tune-out. You have to work at it and be open to whatever comes your way. Which means there’s a degree of vulnerability that comes with being real. Like, you might say or do something silly and then feel silly then people will think you’re silly and you’ll wish you had of just been cool like The Fonz and didn’t say or do anything in the first place. But I think The Fonz was as unsure as the rest of us and he needed love too. Not just ladies, but real love. Plus, he was just pretend anyway.
It’s so easy to slip into our same old soundtrack of negativity and self-doubt. And it’s easy to be a part of gossip and useless sharing. But there comes a point when that’s just way too boring for our spirits and those rare moments become the norm. There’s nothing like a personal connection and as Claudia Garcia so beautifully says: “pretend that everyone you meet has a sign around their neck that says ‘make me feel important’”. Then the potential to make those connections is limitless. Love it – thanks cgg!
Masthead photo from Franck Mahon’s photostream on Flickr