week #17 in an experimental year…

One of my rituals for each new year is to choose a word to influence me for the year.  My word for 2011 is EXPERIMENT. To support my EXPERIMENTAL focus, I commit to post the results of a new experiment each Sunday of this year.

My experiment this week was engagement.

NO, not that kind. 🙂

I tried to engage people.

I wasn’t completely random.  Every time I went into a store/restaurant this week, I tried to meaningfully engage the person who helped me or rang up my sale.  I gave myself these four rules:

  1. don’t be creepy;
  2. be mindful of not slowing service for others;
  3. no ‘weather-talk’;
  4. and no ‘how’s-your-day-going-talk’.

It was a BLAST.  Now, not everyone was ‘engage-able’.   Most were though.  And most of these engagements were surprisingly rich.  One of my favorite conversations was with a woman at a convenience store.  I mentioned how uplifting the music in the store was.  She showed me the CD she was playing and went on to explain that her son was one of the singers and that since he’s now in Afghanistan, the CD helps her miss him less.  She asked if I’d pray with her for him.  We did. Then we hugged.  And then I left with my coffee refill ~ smiling & humming.

His name is Antoine.  Hers is Vivian.

Then there was Stacy, the waitress who served my friend Robin and I lunch on Thursday.  I told her that her purple hair really worked on her.  It did.  She was thrilled.  She’d just done it the night before.   Technically though, the color is raspberry sorbet – not purple.  Close enough to make her day.   Mine and Robin’s, too.

Here’s what this week’s experiment reminded me:

  • Kevin Bacon isn’t the only one who’s connected to everyone else;
  • everyone loves to tell their own unique story;
  • giving them that opportunity is always worth the time and effort.