A couple of weeks ago, the stone fell out of my wedding ring. I think I nearly had a heart attack when I noticed it was missing. I had just come back from a mile-long walk with my dog and panicked thinking it could be lost anywhere in the neighborhood.
Fortunately for me, I found it right here on my desk under my keyboard. I guess I do spend a lot of time in this spot.
Now we have several jewelry stores in our town, but it was a Saturday so I went to the closest store that was open. I’d never been to the downtown jewelry store before and I had no idea that they catered more to the super rich than to people like me who couldn’t tell you the difference between a crown and a tiara – nor would I care to look that up and find out.
Bear in mind that I am wearing a college hoodie that makes me look like I’m about 12, very little to no make up (as usual) and I don’t carry a purse. I despise carrying anything around, so if I absolutely need a bag I take my Girls Can’t WHAT? Drummer tote.
As I walked in, the lady behind the counter looked me up and down and gave me that same “you don’t belong here” look that Julia Roberts got in Pretty Woman when she walked into the ritzy stores to shop. Yes I realize I looked like a fish out of water in there. I ignored her and pulled out a plastic baggie with my broken ring and stone inside. She raised her eyebrow at me and said “how can I help you?”
I explained that needed the stone reset and she started rattling off big dollar amounts and explaining how the entire setting would need to be replaced. I’m not sure if that was some sort of scare tactic, but it didn’t work. She took my plastic baggie to her workstation to check to see if it was a “real stone” and “real gold”, leaving my little pauper self at the counter to wait.
About that time, some family friends emerged from one of the private offices in the back. You know - the fancy offices where they look at ridiculously priced pieces and there’s a safe in the wall behind the picture frame. (I don’t really know. That’s just what I imagine it’s like in there.) My friends immediately recognized me, gave me a hug and started asking about my family and what we’d been up to. As we talked, the lady behind the counter kept glancing up at us and I watched her whole demeanor change.
You see, these family friends happen to be one of the richest couples in our town. I’m most certain they are very valued customers in this particular store. Suddenly I went from being treated like an outcast to being a rock star. All because I knew these people personally and they were obviously good friends and not just casual acquaintances.
Now the lesson here is NOT that you need to know wealthy or famous people to be treated with respect or to get what you want out of life. Far from it. There’s a piece of this story you haven’t heard yet.
Long before I was ever born (or even thought of for that matter), my grandpa met a young man in need of a job. My grandpa gave this man his very first job. That young man grew up to be the vice president of a very large corporation in our town and became very wealthy. That young man never forgot the kindness and opportunity that my grandpa gave to him. He has been a faithful friend to our family throughout the years and it is always a pleasure to speak with him and his wife as I did last week when we ran into each other in the jewelry store.
It really is all about who you know. It’s all about who you connect with in life, but most importantly it’s all about HOW you connect with them. Most of you read this blog for inspiration and guidance on how to move forward with your dreams. You’ve probably thought a lot about who you network with and secretly hope that meeting certain people will help you get there faster. I’m guilty of that myself.
Too often we think in terms of “what’s in it for me?” Nothing wrong with that for the most part, but it won’t get you very far. We all know there’s no such thing as a free ride, so maybe it’s time to stop watching Oprah and expecting handouts.
Let’s stop and look at the people around us and see where we can fill a need without expecting anything in return. You never know when your kindness might be repaid. But you definitely won’t have anything repaid if you aren’t willing to lend a hand in the first place. And before you can extend your hand, you need to first connect with that person.
Introduce yourself. Be friendly. Be yourself. If you’re an introverted writer like me, this can be hard. I often connect via email and Facebook because it’s more comfortable for me. That’s perfectly ok. As long as you’re making the effort, you will be rewarded.
So are you ready to connect? Talk to me. I’m always willing to strike up a discussion. Take the first step and post a comment below. I promise I will reply.