Do What You Don’t Want To Do
I didn’t want to go. It was raining. I’d have to drop off the kids where my wife would be and be late. I don’t know these people. I’m trying to juice fast this week and this was dinner at a (regular) restaurant with a fixed menu. I’m behind on work. I’d have to find parking. I didn’t have to go by any means. They truly wouldn’t have missed me. I didn’t want to go.
Against all odds, I went to the dinner I didn’t want to go to.
I sat next to an umpire and pitcher who told me about his one-strike-away-from-a-no-hitter game back in the 70’s. A greens keeper told about how if you dig home plate just a little deeper into the ground, it doesn’t get nicked by the grading machines and eventually levels out so when you slide into home, it’s smoother. I learned about the strike zone for slow pitch softball and a mat that sits behind home plate–and the controversy behind it. A woman, “120 pounds soaking wet” who could pull a slider over the right field fence with the power of a slugger. An umpire throwing out a player not once, but twice in the same game. I ordered salmon which was mouth watering. I found parking.
Do (Sometimes) What You Don’t (Really) Want To Do
No, I didn’t really want to go, but the guy who invited me really wanted me to come. I thought more of him than I did of me. If it had been an open invitation, I wouldn’t have gone. But it was directly and personally from him. He’s a good guy. He gives me a firm handshake. He smiles when he sees you and always has something upbeat to say.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
I really don’t know this crowd. I’ve now been to this annual dinner three or four times and it’s the only time I see (or ever will see) these people. I won’t be friends with them. I won’t know them terribly better. But I show up. I figure, “It’ll be interesting.” But only if you allow it to be.
I could have gone and sat there quietly and smiled politely. I’m not terribly an extrovert. I don’t just strike up conversations with strangers for the sake of conversation. But I’m at a dinner party at a restaurant. It’s a big annual thing for this organization. They’re all having a rolling time talking about the old days–and planning for the future of the organization (whispering if it’s a controversial idea).
Be an extrovert for the night. Pretend you’re a reporter. Order salmon.
But this is all exactly why I did go. In fact, this is more reason to go to this event than an event with friends I know already. I know them already. It’s nothing (terribly) new. This is everything new. I consciously asked more questions than I (ever) do. I listened intently to their stories and even had follow-up questions to show that I was paying attention. Not only to show I was being mindful, but because I was interested–but I wanted to make sure they knew I was interested.
If that’s the average, these are the outliers. This is the interesting stuff people didn’t know about you. If you’re a tree, these are the little branches that stick out in odd directions. These are your quirks, this is how you build them. This is how you grow. Are you willing to grow? Sometimes do what you don’t really want to do. See what happens, but let it happen.