The lean forward moment

20131027-164318.jpg

I wait for that moment. It happens every time, without fail. I meet someone, and they start telling me what they “do”. Sometimes they’re excited about it, and sometimes they’re barely showing any signs of passion.

Then, as I start asking questions, and we get deeper into conversation, it happens.

The person’s eyes light up, a genuine smile breaks through, and they lean forward and really get into the conversation.

That is when I know we’ve made a real connection and I’ve been let into the person’s world. What makes someone lean forward is what is at the core of that person and gives you a great idea of who they are.

I have experienced so many lean forward moments – people from all walks of life, backgrounds, ages and career paths.

  • The leader of a social profit agency leaned forward talking about the letters she reads from families that have had their lives changed as a result of her organization’s work.
  • A rising star fundraiser leaned forward when he told me about how excited he gets working with donors one on one, walking them through an inquiry or even a complaint, and taking them to a place of understanding.
  • An introverted engineer turned consultant specializing in innovation tax credits leaned forward when he started talking about his vision of the future of Canada as an innovation hub.

  • Sometimes, people ask the question “If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you do?” as an attempt to determine someone’s true calling or passion. Maybe that works if the person answering the question is very self-aware and has already figured it all out.

    I think having a meaningful conversation is more likely to reveal the real answer, because it’s coming about naturally and organically, and we may not always be highly attuned with our own deep-seeded passion.

    The next time you go to a networking event, or anywhere you are meeting new people, you are bound to have someone asking you early in your conversation “What do you do?” Answer them, then try something different as a response. Don’t ask “What do you do?”. Ask “What makes you lean forward?”, pause while the person gives you a weird look, explain yourself, and see how it goes. I have a feeling it will be much more interesting that way.

    Sometimes we do what we have to do, but we hope that for the most part, we get to do what we want to do, what we like to do and what we believe is our calling. Find what makes you lean forward, and make sure, even if you’re not doing that all the time, that it is part of your life often enough to keep you fulfilled.

    Constant Questions: What makes you lean forward? Do you get to do enough of that in your life? Have you seen other people lean forward and realized you just discovered what makes them tick? Would you lean on me, when you’re not strong? Because I’ll be your friend.

    If you do have a million dollars and are struggling for ideas of what to do with it, here are some great ones.

    Join the discussion

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s