Everyone has a story.
The good news is, you don’t have to know each and every unwritten memoir to have a meaningful connection. I’ll show you how.
We live in a multi-tasking world. We cook a half dozen meals at the same time. We crave, almost addict like, for instant gratification. We don’t have the time, check that, we don’t make the time to get to know -their story.-
A story. You have one; your co-worker has one; your neighbor has one; your customer has one. We all have a story.
Since I was a kid, I’ve always been interested in other people’s stories.
I guess it’s why I became a coach.
For the last five years or so, I’ve had fun playing in the Whitman School of Management alumni mentoring program at Syracuse University.
Mentors like myself, volunteer to help students in numerous areas: interviewing skills, securing an internship, making a connection, sharing experiences in business and life, to name a few.
Brian, a Gen Y Garden State entrepreneur, figuring out where he wants to make a dent, a difference, my mentee this semester, asked to interview me for a class project. Without hesitation I said “Let’s do it!”
Here’s a taste of Brian’s questions:
- How did you get into coaching?
- When did you know you wanted to be a coach?
- What were your biggest obstacles?
- How big do you want to get? (Wow, nobody’s asked me that before.)
- What’s your biggest regret?
- Have you considered putting yourself on TV or radio? (Maybe I’ll hire Brian as a coach.)
For 60 minutes or so, I basked in the warmth of the fictional spotlight, fueled by Brian lobbing one introspective question after another, as the icy rain fell outside Huntington Hall on this chilly April Syracuse morning.
Brian was uber cool, showing indubitable interest regarding my story.
Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinkin. “Steve, the dude needed to write a paper and you were convenient.” I disagree mon ami!
Brian could have asked anyone to be the subject of his paper. He asked moi.
There was something else.
I’m what’s known as a Highly Sensitive Person, aka HSP (Google it.)
I pick up on everything. My sonar absorbs dimunitive details about a person or situation and enlarges them in vivid color on a 3D IMAX screen.
What I sensed about Brian was he genuinely cared about my answers. Locked in on my responses. He wasn’t staring down at his smartphone or looking out the plate glass windows on to Marshall St.
The Gen Y New Jerseyan demonstrated ICF Coaching Core Competency number four: Presence. He was with me the whole time.
Being totally immersed in a person’s thoughts is a gift to them. It doesn’t happen often, but boy when it does, it’s magical.
Brian, thanks for the gift. I was stupid happy inside.
I saw a quote this week from the one and only Mary Kay Ash who said:
“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’”
Chick-fil-A, the restaurant chain, created a video to remind employees the opportunity they have to shape a special moment for someone, each and every time they’re in a customer’s presence.
I hope you take the time to watch it.
This week, I’m issuing a challenge. Consider it a double dog dare.
Be aware, that everyone you touch this week has a story. That’s it.
Then, come back and share how your behavior changed by being mindful and present.
p.s. Brian, I’m counting on you to ace this paper dude!
Powerful, powerful video. My sister uses a similar one in her training at the hospital she works in. So, so important to know that everyone has much more going on than we can see.
With that said… what’s wrong with cooking 6 meals at once…. turn on some music, drink a little wine…. and the rest of your week just got a heck of a lot easier…. just saying. #workingmom
Glad you enjoyed it Karin.
What’s for dinner?
I know what you mean Steve, I love people. I love to get to know them, I enjoy hearing about how I might be able to help them so they can do and be better. I’ve always been a big people person and I’ve always loved helping others. It’s why I fell into what I do.
I loved that quote and video and I have no doubt Brian will ace that paper. Sounds like you really enjoyed being interviewed too and I don’t blame you. Knowing he really was interested in what you shared means a lot. Can’t wait to hear how he did.
Thanks for sharing this, loved it.
Adrienne, helping people is the greatest gift to give to others.
I’m looking forward to what Brian gets on his paper! 😉
I agree Steve and I wanted to be sure and stop back by because I did sign up this time to receive your reply from my comment. So I did receive as you very well know but I also received your reply to Max.
This is why I don’t check the box. Now if it’s just the reply to my comment, which I do want to know about, that would be great but it’s not. I hope you understand how my inbox would be flooded if I did that on everyone’s blog that I visit.
Thanks and have a great weekend.
Hi Steve; You are so right being present in the moment during conversations is the key to successful interaction. but how many of us are ever truly in the moment not thinking of yesterday or tomorrow or even where they need to be in five minutes. I’m glad you were able to receive such a gift from this young man, and I hope I met this goal myself during our recent conversation. I did enjoy speaking with you and hope to get the pleasure again someday. Take care, Max
Max, I was surprised how tuned in Brian was to our conversation.
I really enjoyed speaking with you as well. You’re authentic.
I love knowing other people’s stories as I like to consider myself a people person… when I’m not being too introverted. lol It’s one of the main reasons why, when I write many of my blog posts, I add a story to the topic. Stories always seem to capture the spirit of things better, as well as helps everyone connect better.
Then again, last night at the poker table a guy was telling me he suffers from PTSD and when I asked him if he’d been in the military, because he was a young guy, he said it was because he’d been accused of murdering 4 people and had to spend time in jail before they realized it wasn’t him. Talk about interesting stories! lol
Wow Mitch. That’s one heck of a story!
I know; the stuff people tell me lol