January 21, 2011

People Collecting

In The Happiness Project, the author spends a bit of time talking about how to "play seriously" - essentially, how to really make sure that her non-work time is actually fulfilling and not just full. One of the things she decides to do is to start a collection. She takes up finding bluebird related stuff .. um, not my thing for sure!

In fact, I was inspired to start a collection myself, but couldn't really come up with anything ... until last night.

As I was waiting for my hip-hop class to start, a gal joined me on the bench and asked if she was in the right place. After assuring her that she was, I struck up a conversation, asking the usual "you're a stranger but I'd like to talk to you" questions. Now, this doesn't always work - sometimes you get the people who are clearly not interested (and, in fact, some days, I'm that person). She, however, was very engaging and friendly.

Eventually, though, we hit the dreaded lull in the conversation - squiggly silence. I thought in that moment, "This is that point in every first experience you have with someone where you decide to let them be just another stranger or to go that extra step to find out more." I turned and invited her to a show I'm going to this weekend. I had to hold back a laugh in response to her surprised expression! This response though was followed by something else - gratitude. I think we all want connection more than anything else, but fear so often gets in the way. So, it's nice when that initial wall gets broken down.

In that moment, I realized what I most like to collect - people!! I randomly invite people out for things all the time and do so because of this love of collecting people and their stories. I love the possibility of bringing this person into my crew; seeing how she'll blend and connect with my other people. I enjoy bringing all of my folks together and then just listening to their stories and seeing what they bring out in each other.

This is also a huge part of why I am passionate about coaching - it affords me the opportunity to constantly meet people, learn about them, listen to their stories (with the added benefit of doing something else I love - working with them to get past anything that's stopping them from living fully!).

It takes a bit of courage to be a people collector. It can be met with surprise and annoyance. It means going out on a limb I suppose. I guess my midwestern upbringing bolsters me a bit!

All in all, I'm proud of my collection so far ... and am excited to see what new acquisitions I'll make this year!

What do you collect!?

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