A couple of weeks ago, I was standing on the sidelines of Jack’s ballgame, reading a book while the teams warmed up.
One of the dads came over to say hi. He eyed my hardcover.
That’s a pretty big book for a ballgame, he said.
Well, I have to finish it by Friday.
What page are you on?
This book was pushing 500 pages, plus it had those gorgeous deckled edges that make any book look longer than it is. He raised his eyebrows. Is that even possible?
Yeah, I said, sheepishly.
Book club? he asked.
Nope, I answered. Work.
Love your work or hate it?
Oh, love it, I said. Definitely love it. What about you?
I’m a physician, he said, and then he went on to explain a bit about his field, and how he got into it, and why it wasn’t as satisfying as it used to be.
This is going to sound awkward, he said, but I was just listening to this podcast, and it said that you have to tell people what you’re interested in, because you never know who can help you.
He was clearly nervous. Apparently he wasn’t in the habit of telling people what he was interested in.
But he told he told me about his work: about the business he just started, on the side, because he needed a new challenge.
And as it turned out, I could help him. I know all about that business, and I know people in that business, a business that thrives on contacts (though really, don’t they all?). And importantly (I suspect) I understand that business, and didn’t think he was crazy when he told me what he was interested in.
I’ve been thinking about that conversation a lot since we talked. Because I agree with him: you have to tell people what you’re interested in, because you never know who can help you. It’s obvious to me how many good things have come about—jobs, friendships, opportunities—because someone else knew about that interest, and offered to help.
And yet: I tend to keep my cards close to my chest. It’s an introvert thing; it’s who I am.
Will that conversation turn me into a blabbermouth? Probably not. But it has given me something to think about.
Do you regularly tell people what you’re interested in? I’d especially like to hear about help you’ve given or received along these lines.
P.S. This whole conversation reminded me so much of this book.