Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Step Out of Your Ego Box - Say "Hi"

When was the last time you really met someone new and felt a good connection? When I say that, I’m not talking about anything weird – I’m talking about a person or group in your life that has changed it for the better. That could be a friend, a relationship, a family member or a complete stranger. Many times? No times? That leads me into the point of my blog and followup question – if you said “a long time ago,” or “never,” when was the last time you started a conversation with a complete stranger?

Getting there now? Okay, so it’s about taking the challenge of meeting someone new. See, I travel a lot, consulting with a few different industries ranging from homebuilding to yoga to NASCAR. That’s a pretty DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED set of people – yoga and NASCAR. Not two words that I would lump together, minus a really interesting Halloween costume perhaps. The totally awesome (pardon my “eighties-ness”here) part of this, is that I meet so many new, different, cool-in-their-own skin people every week.
Not only does everyone have a story, but meeting these new people makes this huge global world seem tinier by the minute.

For instance, I just subbed a private yoga instruction class for a friend, and I happened to be teaching the mom of a playmate in my daughter’s new pre-K class (the yoga class was in a remote location). I’ve also met NASCAR folks who went to high school with college friends from 10 states away; CEOs on planes who were looking for a place to put money (ie, thus supporting a team I worked with); and just plain new friends.
It helps that I like to think everyone is a friend, no matter what happens to push us away or closer together in the universe.

Your world is as small or big as your connections to other human beings, and it all starts with a “hi.” I rarely miss an opportunity in an airport, on a plane, in a store or at an event to open my mouth and talk to someone I’ve never met before. Let’s face it – yes, it takes energy…but how boring and solitary would your life and/or your travels be without new relationships?

As long as you choose to treat these new friends with care – ie, it’s a FRIENDSHIP, not a guarantee of business, or time, or energy for your purposes or ulterior motives – usually it will end up with great return. That might mean them suggesting a business contact for you (or giving you their business themselves/for their own company), or just mean a cool new friend to visit the next time you’re in _____ (insert city here). Oh, and it might be close – like just saying hi to your next door neighbor every once in a while.

Because after all, we live in our own little world sometimes, with our own challenges and opportunities. It’s nice to open your eyes a little wider and branch out. A good friend of mine once said, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid/tired/angry/hurt/bored?” So stop making excuses, go say hi to someone you’ve never met. I guarantee that you’ll do nothing but gain in the end.

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