Today’s writings is about a terrific experience I had recently when I traveled to Sydney for a real estate/leadership conference.
I decided that this was the trip I was going to branch out. I have been feeling like I need more challenges in my life lately and want to experience more. Meet more people and expand my horizons. For 25 years, I lead a life of somewhat shyness, not crippling or extreme by any means, but I would shy away from situations where I might feel vulnerable and exposed.
I wouldn’t like talking with strangers or didn’t have the confidence to make a joke. What if they laughed, what if they judged? What if they told everyone else what a clown I am….?
I made the choice a little while ago it was time to get over that.
Over the last 12 months I have met some amazing people and really worked on my confidence, customer service, communication skills, interpersonal skills and general confidence. I am now fully confident to start conversations with people at any time. If you really ask yourself whats the worst that can happen you actually come up with a short list of outcomes…the main being that you walk away and continue your life. No big deal right?
So for this trip, I decided to embrace technology, and used ‘Air BnB’. With a lot of the reading I do online, it speaks a lot about community based enterprises. Uber and AirBnB constantly came up. I sourced a room and gave it a crack. I had no idea what my host, ‘Silvia’ would be like. All I knew is she had a 4.8 star rating, some great comments and lived in an area close to the conference.
After already met a fellow named Thib earlier in the day on the plane, who happened to be good mates with one of my good mates (read about that here), I was on a roll. I got to the house and was immediately greeted by friendly smile. We had chatted very briefly over text before I came and rang the doorbell to her apartment. (yes Hers. If you don’t know about AirBnB, it is basically where those with a spare room in their house rent it out to complete strangers, read more about it here.)
After we went upstairs, she immediately gave me a tour of HER beautiful apartment, letting me know where fresh towels were, what the wifi password was, gave me a fresh bottle of cold water, and even gave me some chocolates (which I politely declined). She let me get settled and asked what I was going to do for dinner.
I mentioned I was going to go for a wander. Silvia then explained the direction of two options, the first was a one minute walk and served great meals, the second, was around twelve minute walk but was a district filled with many food options. An excellent host to say the least and I did not at all feel strange being in her apartment.
At this point it was roughly 7pm and I was starting to get peckish. I decided to go for an evening stroll as it’s absolutely beautiful weather in Sydney, and made my way into town. I grabbed a bite and started to head back the way to the apartment. Unfortunately, the food choice I made was not overly filling. So I walked to the venue that was 1 minute walk from the apartment….and yes I had a second dinner. As I sat there I wondered what was next. Very philosophical and deep I know.
I saw 3 women sitting in the corner having a girls night out and enjoying each others company. What I did next was not in any way a form of come on, just a gesture of random kindness. I didn’t want recognition for what I was about to do, I just wanted them to enjoy their night. I told the waiter to buy the girls their next round of drinks. Why? Why not? When was the last time you did something like that for a stranger…and what did it cost me? $24? I’m not rich by any means, but you get back what you give….10 fold. So they got their drinks, and I felt great. Giving is so powerful.
They thanked me profusely (through the waiter), and I went on and enjoyed my second meal before heading back to the apartment. I didn’t attempt to interrupt their night for my own agenda like getting one of their numbers. It didn’t bother me. In fact I left without even speaking to them.
It was around 9pm by this stage and since I had a 4:30am start the next morning, thought I’d better get some sleep. I wondered into Silvia’s apartment and went to have a quick chat. This lead to a full blown 2 hour conversation with a complete random. Never did I think I would have a random connection with someone I’d just met. Just goes to show, relationships and friendships can be formed anywhere, anytime. Turns out, Silvia was in fact in Real Estate (the reason I was there) and taught me 2 key life lessons.
1. Life is all about relationships
2. Do your best at everything you do
They may sound cliche, but that’s exactly why they call them cliché’s…because they are just that.
The next morning I got up and was out of her apartment by 5:30am. I left the keys on the bedside table and never knew If I would see this person again. A 12 hour period that can literally tell you so much about yourself.
So what made it so amazing?
It was the fact that it opened my eyes to the possibilities. 2 years ago, I would have stayed in a shitty cheap hotel at the airport, got a taxi into the conference (not talking to the driver) and……
ACTUALLY, 2 years ago, I probably wouldn’t have traveled 800km to attend a leadership conference and better myself. The whole reason I was at this leadership conference is a whole other story too! (for another day) But in all honesty it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.
The 36 hour trip, has continued to shape who I am right now and helped me align with the path I feel I am meant to take.
The journey continues………