God Puts Strangers in Your Life for a Reason

5 Mar

The women I’m watching from across the room wears a beautiful long red dress.  I’m casually dressed up in boots and a grey sweater dress, and she is striking in color.  I watch her thinking, I’m not sure I could get away with wearing something like that tonight, but she seems to pull it off.  I see her snapping pictures; she’s completely enjoying herself.  I can feel her confidence from a distance.  I’ve never met her but for some reason I’ve wanted to, and decide that tonight I’ll make an effort.

While it usually comes naturally for me, I’m drained this evening.  Sitting at the hospital with my husband for the past two days causes me to pour a bit of water out of my cup, making it barely half full.  I’m holding onto the belief that our attitude determines our destiny, and while some things are not preventable, the way in which we handle ourselves through the process dictates our path.  With that, I decide to pull myself out of my funk, and make a connection.

I know a little bit about the girl wearing the red dress.  Her career fascinates me, from what I have seen she is multi-talented and has a unique ability to re-make herself as she goes through life.  My mind is racing trying to process how she’s done this, because for the past handful of weeks I’ve been thinking, “Back-up, you need to re-make yourself a bit, define what you love, represent that, drop everything else and go from there”.  From the minute I meet her she’s talking to me as if she’s known me for a while.  Our conversation takes the direction of career and I carefully listen to a few of her experiences, and make mental notes of some of the things she tells me.  I ask her advice on my career goals and of course, she says the one thing that always jumps….”Just do it.  What’s the worst that can happen?  Sometimes I think I get jobs because I decide I want something and I ask for it.  A lot of people don’t ask.”  Okay, maybe she’s right.  I’ll keep asking.

I think my conversation with this woman is done for the night, and it has certainly given me a bit of motivation, when somehow a bit later I run into her again.  This time, our conversation doesn’t touch career.  It quickly develops into thoughts on being a mom.  It’s not the conversation I expected to have with her, but it is by far a powerful one.  The heart of my struggle this month has not only been career, it’s also been with parenting.  Raising a spirited child can be both empowering and draining all in one.  It’s easy to feel like no one understands.  She quickly reveals that she gets it.  She shares such personal information with me, and I’m not sure why, but in doing so she gives me hope that I can manage.

I leave the conversation with this thought.  In business, we work to separate personal and professional.  We hope to portray an image because we think that’s what the world wants to see.  We worry that in truly being open we might alienate ourselves from opportunity; however, in doing so we show a human side.  Understanding something about someone personally makes me trust them more.  Maybe this woman’s ability to so easily share personal experiences with me is a gift.  I begin to think; this could be what makes her successful.  Whether that is the case or not, she’s made an impact that evening.

On the way home I ask myself the following question.  How do I make an on impact people?  How do I give to others in the way she just did to me?  How do I harness that “what do I have to lose” attitude all the time that will keep me pushing forward?  I want to ask her how she handles disappointment or frustration, whether it is in her career, parenting, or life in general.  Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity!

Through the ups and downs of life, sometimes you find yourself having a moment.  Okay, maybe it’s me. Maybe I sometimes find myself in a moment.  It’s that point where you start quickly going downhill, and one piece of bad news turns into another, and another, and then even things that are not the worst news begin to seem like it.

At that moment, maybe the answer is to focus outward and make a difference in the life of someone else.  Navigating through that moment greatly depends on attitude, how we perceive what happens to us.  The woman in red has had her share of challenging moments.  I know this because she tells me; but she lights up a room with her smile and candor.  I think she’s chose happiness.  I’ll use her light to help guide my path, to remember that our destiny is determined by our attitude, and often the way through the difficult moments is by sharing your stories with others.  In doing so, you never know with whom might connect.

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