Not too long ago, I was taking a plane to Portland, Oregon on business. I was seated next to this very nice woman who, during the course of our conversation, revealed that she had a Master’s degree in social work and had been a psychiatrist for years. By anyone’s standards, she was very accomplished and living a life that very successful. However, she didn’t feel happy. She didn’t feel fulfilled.
Deciding to take action, she picked up herself and her belongings and moved to Portland. She got out of the social work field entirely and set out to do something completely different. She was now selling organic products, which is her true passion.
She smiled as she said that she is finally living the life she wants to live.
I told her how I thought it was great that she was doing what she loved. Something that made her life feel so complete.
She said how nice it was hearing someone support her and her choices. It helped to validate her when so many other people couldn’t see why she would leave such a lucrative career in order to pursue entrepreneurship. But, to her, it wasn’t about the money.
This was about choosing to do something that would make each day better than the day before. It was about picking a career path that made her want to bound out of bed every morning; not one that made her want to pull the covers back over her head and hit the snooze button until she had no choice but to get up and face the day.
I can’t tell you how refreshing this conversation was, yet, as I looked around us on that plane, I could see that most people were just sitting there not even acknowledging that there was someone seated next to them. There was no getting to know each other, sharing a laugh or a story. Why?
Certainly, you can’t and it doesn’t make sense to engage someone in conversation if they don’t want to talk, but what is the harm in saying hello? What does it hurt to make small talk or to even share your name as you offer a friendly smile?
There is no doubt that speaking with that woman was not only enlightening, but it also made the time go by so much faster. Before we knew it, we had arrived in Portland and I was on my way to my work destination and she was on her way home.
I invite you to take a few minutes and get to know the people who are around you, living on the same earth, sharing the same types of struggles, and needing the same types of validation or laughter as you and I. Speak to the person in the grocery store line behind you. Share a friendly greeting with the person who is waiting next to you as you are picking your children up from school.
Who knows? You may just find yourself next to someone that has been placed in your path for a reason, and it would be a pity to waste the potential opportunity of a lifetime.
I’d love to hear your story of a chance meeting that positively impacted you, so leave your comments below!