I attended a wedding celebration. As I entered the hall and saw many people I had never met, my introversion immediately kicked in and I started to strategize on how to find a chair and become invisible. As I felt this natural inclination, I made the choice to self-regulate. I disciplined myself to turn positive and engage in conversations with people I did not know. As soon as I started to do this, I felt great. I started walking up to people and introducing myself with confidence and openness. People were surprisingly responsive. These conversations were energizing. I not only benefited from the conversations themselves, I also felt good about consciously choosing to do something that was positive. I had made the choice to be proactive.
When I finally did sit down, the person on my right was a young mother with a small baby. My head concluded that we had little in common. My heart rebelled. Still full of positive emotions, I greeted her warmly. As we chatted, a sense of trust developed. She eventually told me of a sacred event in her life. I shared one with her. The conversation spiraled upward.
Complexity theory tells us that when an element in a system changes in quality and the linkages between the elements change in quality, it is possible for a new system to emerge that has collective capacities found in none of the parts.
When I chose to greet people, I changed in quality. When I sat down, I greeted the young mother with positive energy. She responded with positive energy. The connection between us changed in quality (trust went up). The information flowing between us became more precious. Our fear of difference became confidence in our commonality. Our stories enlightened each other’s minds and lifted each other’s hearts. We both became parts of a greater whole.
It struck me that I am surrounded by people who have precious stories to tell but I never hear them. How I introduce myself matters. I can change the quality of me and the quality of the connections. I can create rich relationships and resources that were not previously visible will emerge.
- How do you feel when you enter a room full of strangers?
- How can you alter your introductions and enrich your conversations?
- What can you do differently today with your associates?
- How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?