Monday, June 30, 2014

Connecting the Dots: Piecing Together the Magic of Who You Are

A lot of you know I spent some time in Thailand earlier this year. It was a dope trip. It was weird. It was beautiful. Had amazing food! I sweat through every shirt I brought with me. Saw some stunningly beautiful temples. Hung out with monks and ladyboys.  I met some beautiful, amazing people. I shared meals, drinks, and hugs with strangers. It was a phenomenal time.

One of the people that I met that had the most impact on me was a gentleman named Andy that was the epitome of lovely. Just an overall warm, charming, intelligent, generous guy. Andy was traveling for business and little bit of pleasure. He’s a 40-something entrepreneur living one of the most fabulous lives of anyone I know. Andy and I talked for hours about traveling, life, similar experiences, our varied experiences-everything. Meeting him was a highlight of my trip. He dropped gem after gem on me. That’s the thing that I love about talking with people with more life experience than me. There’s always that sense of ease, and wisdom, and trust. They trust in themselves and they trust that things will ultimately work out. The conversation naturally turned to “what do you do?” so we talked about my service industry experience and my starting a coaching business. This guy has done everything. I mean it-he came from humble, working class beginnings. He’s been a cook, ultimately becoming a chef, he was into visual art at some point, he was a restaurant manager, he studied international business and hospitality. The dude has done everything. NOW he gets paid to travel and help airlines and restaurants design their ideal hospitality experiences for their guests.

Word, Andy? You get paid to ask companies how they want their guests to feel when they’re greeted? But that’s exactly what he does. Restaurants and airlines all over Asia and Europe hire Andy to coach them on how to create an ideal experience for their guests, generally making the ship look good and run smoothly. There were a lot of take-aways from my conversation with Andy but the biggest one is this-who/what we are and all of the experiences that we’ve had are valuable. If we can connect the dots and see how our experiences fit together, we can create something meaningful, exciting, and useful from it. There’s value in all of our experience(s) no matter how much you think, or somebody else thinks, it’s bullshit. I could easily bitch about being in the restaurant industry for 4 years now, or I could shift that perspective to realize that there are companies abroad that find my experience valuable and are actively seeking it out. It’s up to me to give meaning and value to my experiences. Looking at Andy, because he’s been a chef and a manager and has a background in art, he’s able to tell you what works for food pairings, how to run a tight ship, and what looks good aesthetically. He’s using everything that he’s done.

Second major take-away from our chat, It’s ok to switch tracks. Andy told himself that it’s ok to follow his passions. He developed himself. He never stopped seeking knowledge. He never stopped being curious. He took risks. Clearly, risk yielded great reward as he is now running a business and using every bit of those varied experiences to help his clients.
The third take-away is to listen. Listen to yourself, primarily. Get into a still space and listen to that inner voice and what’s calling you. Not what your mama wants to you to do or what your cousin is doing-tap into what’s most important for you. Additionally, listen to people that have done what you want to do, and that have been where you want to go. They know how to do it. So quite simply, shut up. Sometimes you have to shut up, put that ego to the side, stop acting like you have it all figured out, and listen to the experiences of someone that’s doing it. By all means, there’s a flip side to that coin and people can be discouraging, but that’s when you get to tell them to shut up. ;-)

With that being said, I leave you with this final word: Don’t forsake your journey. All that you are and all that you’ve done is valuable. My challenge to you is to think about how you can connect those dots together and create something that highlights the best of you and the best of what you’ve done. And if you’re struggling with that, hire me so I can do it for you ;-)   

Hopefully you found this useful. If you want to hear more from me, become a follower on my facebook page “coach eric nyc.” You can subscribe to my blog at and you can check out my website at Happy monday y’all!

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