My first day at WDS, “all I did” was check in to my hotel, register, and go to one meetup. Then, thunderbolt from the blue, I made an instant friend!
Kismet doesn’t usually happen at your house. It happens when you get up and go somewhere where there are other people, preferably on a similar wavelength. This is the best reason to go to conferences and workshops.
The kismet thing is even funnier from my new friend’s perspective. Just the night before, she spontaneously went to an event, where she met a workshop facilitator, and then had the bright idea to go to this person’s next event. We happened to sit next to each other. From the moment we started talking, we felt an unusually strong connection.
Two days ago, I was already in town, already packed, already registered, my annual lightning-bolt disruption experience carefully planned. This is my fourth year, and I bring fully formed expectations of making fabulous new friends and having life-altering conversations.
I’m, you might say, a ringer.
My friend, though, two days ago she was just living her life. Suddenly she stumbled down the rabbit hole, not even having heard of this event going on across the street from her office.
Are you hearing this? Are you??
These types of encounters are available to you the moment you disrupt your routine. Go somewhere new and different, introduce yourself to strangers, be open to new ideas and new conversations. Maybe even across the street from your building?
The workshop itself, the meetup, I should tell you about this because it was excellent.
Marli Williams. Check her out. She’s a genius and she changes lives so often that she may be sorta kinda taking it for granted.
This particular meetup was called: “How to Be an EPIC Facilitator Who Changes Lives.” A lot of us had *aha!* reactions to the concept of facilitating rather than teaching. I took vigorous notes and already feel like I have had a major perceptual shift around facilitating meetings and events.
Picture the room. It’s literally standing-room only. A few people standing in the back could sit on the floor if they chose, but honestly there is so much energy in the space that one would find it hard to remain seated.
Every person present is there for an extremely specific message, which is how to be a leader and change lives. See that this attracts a very particular type of person and a certain mindset.
The more specific you can get when you are dialing in to a new friend wavelength, the easier the click will be.
Pull back a moment. What if I had sat next to someone else? Was there another person in the room (or more than one) who might also have felt like an instant friend?
The point is to set aside the time, to be open to the possibility, to make room for friendship. It feels like people used to be better about this, about having long timeless evenings of conversation and laughter. On a weeknight!
Everyone got ready to go. We turned to each other.
“Do you want to go somewhere? Like, now?”
“What do you want to do?”
We wound up drinking tea and bogarting a booth in a bar for, what, three hours? Exchanging life stories and talking about every single thing ever.
Have you ever been swept away and smitten by a new friend? When was the last time?
This is something I want for the world, and also the reason I’m interested in event planning and facilitating workshops in the first place. If I could lead a discussion and have it end with new friends walking out the door together, I’d die happy. Probably even if it only happened once!
Friendship. Out of all things, isn’t it something the world could use a lot more of?
When I went to my first World Domination Summit, I was lit up and inspired by the academies and the keynote speakers. I took pages and pages of notes and felt a serious case of FoMO about all the times I couldn’t be in three places at once.
With each year that’s gone by, I’ve felt more like I’m here for the people I will meet, and that the event content is more of a side attraction. Oh, yes, this person has published a book / runs an annual event / has a website / has a podcast and I can catch up later. But ***this person*** will only cross my path for two hours unless I do something drastic
Like get vulnerable and reach out and say
“Hey, I like you”
“Do you want to go somewhere? So we can talk more?”
Sometimes people say “sure” and then they talk themselves out of it later. That’s because most of our interaction with other people is via alphabet letters these days. Or memes or emojis, but... We aren’t doing much, culturally, about sitting across from each other and listening intently and making a magical conversation bubble.
Face to face, voice to voice, laughing in stereo.
As I write about this, as I get very worked up about the power of friendship, I start picturing all my older friendships. I have not been present for my old friends lately and I feel sad and full of fails about that. Then I think, that is not friendship. No real friend would want someone to associate guilt or sadness or failure with that friendship! Right?
That’s my call to action here. Reach out to someone, someone you like. Make a new friend, step closer to an acquaintance, call up someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Say hi, tell them why you’re thinking about them.
I told the waitress for our section that we had just met and we felt like we’d been friends for twenty years. I told her she should watch for who sat in our booth next, and see if it looked like they had picked up on that vibe. Maybe her curiosity and expectation will influence the next party to sit there. Maybe they’ll have a crazy amount of fun and have no idea why!
Maybe it will be you and your friend?
Maybe I can carry that feeling into the next workshop I lead. Maybe I can, maybe anyone can, create a space where people feel like friends are all around them, waiting to be made.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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