Last week I spent some time in the company of someone new to me.
As our time progressed a few things transpired that inspired this blog.
A third person joined us. They and I found we had a few things in common – primarily some of my previous travelling experience, and we spent a great amount of time laughing, sharing stories, reminiscing and in many ways forming a “connection” in the way that happens when you find someone that knows some of the same things you know, in a place where you wouldn’t expect to find that level of shared knowledge, and particularly not with someone so close to someone that is now in your orbit…Sync Level 1.
During the conversation they mentioned their interest in starting their own business and I gently sold my services. Sync Level 2 and this provided Lesson One – throughout our conversation and as we shared more and more information they said “I like you. Yes, I want to meet with you to discuss my business.” It’s this feeling of “likeability” that is so important in our businesses as we serve the aspirations of others. People share with us one of their most precious desires – their business idea, details about what motivates them to start or continue to pursue a goal, and who wants to do that with someone they don’t “take to”? My likeability is of course subjective, and it isn’t an indication of the quality of my advice or the effectiveness of my work in developing the businesses of others, but it certainly forms part of our decision making when deciding who we wish to work with, or not.
Our three-way conversation continued and I mentioned some work I had done previously. We realised that we all shared similar frustrations in working on funded projects that ended, often abruptly, when the organisations we were engaged with decided to end financially supporting the innovative and entrepreneurial work we had delivered. Sync Level 3.
Then it happened.
We all realised that we had worked in the exact same field, in different capacities, different countries and for different periods of time, but there it was – our shared interest, shared expertise and most importantly our shared desire to continue the work – in front of us all in a way that was completely unexpected. Consider that the background to our conversation was completely unrelated; that person A and I had never spoken of this aspect of our careers before and this was the first time meeting the person B.
Excitement overcame me as I looked at the potential of the opportunities in front of me -and now I saw in these two new allies, collaborators, business partners, supporters – all of these roles and everything in-between.
To labour the point, because at this stage you might think it’s as momentous as I might be making it out to be: I don’t mean that we just worked in project management at some stage in our careers; the link is that we’ve worked on the same types of projects, same target audience, exact same subject area, with a shared geographical interest in the UK and internationally – of all the countries in the world, our link was to one that I definitely see in my future. I mean that level of synchronicity, Sync Level Bonus 1,215,332!
As always in our business lives, its not the incident that is relevant, but the action that is taken afterwards. Emails have already been sent, and I’m sincerely looking forward to the follow-up meetings and planning that will happen to take our individual ideas forward, now as a collective. Often the world of self-employment can be quite isolated, so whilst I work in supporting other people all the time, I’m always excited about working with others on my own pursuits and projects.
I like these two, too.
So, what’s lesson two? Maybe it’s something about being an active listener. Maybe it’s something about asking the right type of investigative questions. Perhaps it’s something about openness and being interested in others. Maybe there’s no lesson here other than to recognise that sometimes the universe aligns and presents us with what we need, and that it’s up to us to materialise these gifts into what we want.
Maybe it’s all or none of these things.
Close-up of a peacock tail feather