True story. I did not make this up. It’s a crazy-cool tale of synchronicity and the power of taking a moment to reach out to people you know and enjoy. In this case that person is my friend Merv.
Merv is a fellow professional speaker and consultant. He’s from New Mexico, and we know each other via the National Speakers Association. We both serve on NSA’s Chapter Leadership Committee, which is a group of past chapter presidents who are hand-picked to help train the incoming chapter presidents. Merv and I and the rest of our awesome CLC tribe worked our butts off last year building a new training curriculum, which we used in our training last November. Blah blah blah. I tell you that not to brag, but to give you context. As a result of working together, Merv and I and our CLC peeps got to know each other pretty well, which of course is a pleasant side benefit.
That’s our serious and professional side. Now for the silly side of the story.
One of the things I love about Merv is his wry sense of humor. Like me, he travels a lot in order to serve clients all over the country. Well, actually, he’s on the road or in the air ALL the time. Me, just a few times a month. Naturally when you travel a lot, you do a lot of people-watching and see people doing a lot of silly, odd, eccentric, and sometimes even rude, disturbing, or self-absorbed things. People eating stinky foods on the plane. People schlepping ridiculous amounts of luggage. People trying to jump the line to board the plane before everyone else. People talking too loudly on their cell phones. You name it. If you’ve ever been to an airport or on an airplane in the last decade, you get the picture. And you likely have some stories of your own to share.
Rather than being driven crazy by these behaviors, Merv has learned to take them in stride. He not only sees the humor in them, he began writing witty Facebook posts about his observations. They are hysterical to read as Merv’s writing style offers a delightful blend of Mark Twain, Andy Rooney, Bill Bryson, Jeanne Robertson, and David Sedaris.
So as a fan of Merv and his posts, I do the right thing. If, while traveling, I spot something that I think Merv could appreciate or add to his collection of goofy Things People Do When They Travel, I message him to document what I’ve seen.
I did that yesterday. I was in Austin awaiting my flight to Nashville when I noticed people lining up for a flight to El Paso. Among the many people in line following the Southwest Airline boarding protocol was a grown woman holding (and about to take onboard her flight) what looked like her entire personal bedding collection. A body pillow that was almost as large as she was, a quilt that had to be at least queen-sized, an over stuffed carry-on tote (probably containing her bathrobe), and (I could hardly believe it) a very large stuffed animal. And the crazy part is, the airline let her take all this on board! And obviously, TSA had no problem with it, which just seems kind of weird to me. But that’s another post for another day.
I immediately sent a message to Merv, describing what I was seeing.
Here’s the cool part: Merv replied within minutes, not only to say thanks for the message and offer a knowing virtual chuckle, but to say that he was in Nashville working with a client and free for lunch the next day (which is today, just moments from now). I’ve completed my presentation for my client, had time to jot down this story, and will be off eating Indian food with a friend who makes me laugh and sees the craziness of the human condition as something to be amused by — not stressed out about.
Synchronicity at play.
I think you can see the lesson in this as it applies to networking, staying connected, and building friendships. I will simply say that it pays to reach out. Even if to share a laugh. You never know what synchronicity can do to keep you in touch with people you know and enjoy. Perhaps you’ll have an experience today, see something, read something, or think about something that will remind you of a friend or colleague you haven’t seen recently. Or perhaps you’ll learn something that a person you know will find amusing, interesting, or even valuable. Here’s what you do when that happens: Don’t resist or hesitate. Act on it. Reach out. Call. Text. Email. Message. Write a handwritten note. You never know what will come of it.
Book me as your next corporate or conference presenter/facilitator: Could your conference attendees or corporate team benefit from learning new strategies for connecting more authentically, comfortably and confidently with others? Are they ready to learn how to be more purposeful, polished, present and productive in their networking efforts? Contact me at patti[at]intentionalnetworker[dot]com, and let’s explore how my expertise and programs can help you and your people Live, Work & Connect at a Higher Level(tm).
Great post, Patti! As a fellow NSA-CLC member, I so appreciate Merv’s hysterical travel updates and all of us being able to see the lighter side of humanity, even when in its darkest forms! A lesson in sanity! Haha! 😀 Anyway, your blog post made me smile. Thanks! -Lisa
Merv is hysterical. He just calls it as he sees it and in a refreshing and endearing way. He proves to us again and again that people are sooooo interesting!
I too find myself critiquing others’ behavior, especially drivers, and laughing. I have named this sub-personality of mine Police Woman of the World. I truly think she wants one of those flashing lights I could slap on the top of my car to go after people. We have been having talks about her retiring; I told her she can ride along with me, but she doesn’t have to be on the job. It’s a work in progress.
Thanks for the reminder to keep in touch, Cameron
So funny, Cameron! I catch myself making judgements all the time. It’s what we humans do. But it sure is fun to laugh about it. I recently sat with a gentleman on a plane that I was certain would be The Seatmate from Hell – but guess what? He was delightful! Quirky, yes. But I’d sit with him again any day. (Well, maybe not on a trans-Atlantic flight…)