Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Authentic Connecting

I had the good fortune to sit next to a two men this morning that truly get the concept of Rippling.  Of course they didn't actually know they were Rippling exactly.

This morning I arrived early to a coffee shop not far from my house.  I have so much to work to do this week and needed to get a jumpstart on it before I met someone for a meeting.  Rather than working I found myself being sucked into a living breathing example of real connecting.

Two men were sitting next to me and they were sharing some ideas about their own personal philosophies of how to build business.  Nothing unusual about this kind of interaction, in fact it will happen in interactions between business people in coffee shops all over the country most days.  I could have easily chalked it off to a couple of suits plotting between them how they plan to take over the world. 

But something was different between these guys.  There seemed to a be a higher purpose.  A genuine interest in what the other was saying.  As one spoke the other seemed to drink in their words and savor them like the sweetest of chocolate.  They both voraciously took notes and compared drawings and seemed to really be hitting it on all cylinders.  They were truly connecting.

Wait!  It was more than that.  They were authentically connecting and for a guy who loves to see that it was euphoric.  I couldn't get into working on what I had come to do as their energy level created an excited buzz and a real spirit true collaboration.  Despite how much I tried I couldn't seem to keep my eyes of their incredible interaction and inside a little part of me wanted to belly up to the table and participate.

In this same coffee shop there was maybe two or three other tables of business people.  All going about their meetings but they were starkly different then these two chaps.  They didn't possess the same excited energy.  Cell phones were being checked.  Eyes were wandering.  Little if any note taking was occurring.  These other tables were about as far away from authentically connecting as they could be and that was sad.  Especially with such a great example sitting right there in the very same coffee shop. 

I wanted to grab my large Columbian roast and scream "wake up people and pay attention to these guys" from atop the coffee grinder.  Thinking better of it, I decided not to do that.  The last time I tried it the cops came, I was briefly detained in handcuffs and it wasn't pretty.  So I just resumed visually stalking these guys wanting desperately to go give them both a Rippler of the Day badge (if I had one to give.  Heck if one existed...but anyway....).

It got me thinking about what these two chaps had that the other folks in the coffee shop did not.  They have what most Ripplers have when they meet someone else:

1. Genuine interest in the other person they are meeting with.
2. Total focus on the other person.  Cell phones and other distractions put away.
3. Listened with real intention of hearing what the other person is saying.
4. Energy.  They both were enthusiastic and that allowed both people to feed off that energy.
5. Excitement for what they could share, what they could learn, what could be discovered together.
6. They allowed themselves to put the authentic self front and center.  No airs or pretense.
7. They fostered an environment of sharing by asking for feedback, ideas, etc.
8. They enjoyed the experience of spending time with the other person.

It was a genuine treat to see two guys really get it.  Perhaps I'll make it a point to seek them out another time and tell them how much I enjoyed watching them.   For now, I'll just shake my head and privately chastise the other patrons of the coffee shop for their failure to recognize real connecting at work.

Ripple On!!!

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