A Domino Effect
A Domino Effect
It's a pretty awkward look that people give me when I come into a bar; sit down by myself in the darkest corner of the place and crackle a piece of paper on the bar in front of me. Luckily, I've gotten used to that strange look. Something that I haven't gotten used to however is running into old girlfriends. That’s even more awkward and recently I had another one of these experiences while visiting one of my customers.
As I'm walking down a hallway to visit the contact of one of my largest customers, I glance into the office to my left. I see what seems to be a familiar face but my mind is so busy running through the script of this meeting that I didn’t think twice. Then all of a sudden I hear, "How are you?" Then it clicked.
It was an ex-girlfriend from high school. Talk about bad timing, it totally threw me off for my meeting. Not only did I immediately forget the script that I was practicing in my head, my throat dropped into my stomach and I couldn't think of anything to say at all. I definitely wasn’t ready for this conversation, not right now.
As my voice quivered through a brutally and horribly conducted conversation, I couldn't help but think the same question that all of us ask ourselves whenever we run into an old relationship, "What if?"
The meeting ending up going well but all I could think about on my drive home was the, "What if?" Thinking about my life and where it was, then looking at her life and thinking about how our lives could have combined if I didn't ruin it years ago? One decision led to another and we continued to grow apart. It makes you appreciate the importance and realize the significance of EVERY SINGLE DECISION THAT WE MAKE EVERY DAY. We all write our own life stories through the decisions that we make every day. Every decision builds onto the next one and before you know it you’re life story is written!
For example, take a recent Tuesday that I had to show how one decision can lead to another and how decisions write the story of your life…
Tuesday January 10th, 2017:
I arrive to work. After I have a chance to set up my laptop and lay out my paperwork, I'll walk into the mailroom to check my mailbox. It's not uncommon to experience an interesting conversation with any fellow employee, and this is where they more than often take place. During the middle of a conversation with a coworker, I notice that she is wearing boots that I haven't ever noticed her wearing before?
Domino #1: I decide to ask her about her new and uncharacteristically stylistic boots!? As it turns out, she was going to a bar after work that was tapping a new local favorite beer, exclusively to that bar and only for a limited time! I didn't have any plans that night, it's a Tuesday and I'm a single guy during a regular week in the middle of January. These are the kind of opportunities that I am supposed to embrace!!! So I decide to do just that.
Domino #2: I needed a wing man. My coworker was going with her husband and that's good for an intro and outro conversation but how am I going to fill the middle time? I sought out an old high school football buddy and it was game on. It had been way too long since we had reminisced anyway and this was the perfect opportunity. Two single guys in the perfect environment. Somehow I forged through the day of work... (Coincidentally enough, my last appointment for work on this Tuesday was at the same customer that I ran into my ex-girlfriend at months earlier.)
Domino #3: I made it to the bar with my friend. I also officially determined that bacon wrapped scallops are my favorite food after this night. But that’s not the point. I had a good time and even won my coworker a poster of the newly tapped beer. The place wasn't as packed as I imagined that it would be, but one girl caught my eye and that was all the entertainment that I needed. I decided to approach her for a conversation.
Domino #4: The approach. Pick up lines may be the most difficult 10 second experience that I've ever had. You have 10 seconds to make your impression and acquire a positive response that should include a phone number. Achieving this task is not easy. Usually my domino’s stop falling here (shrug)..
Domino #5: Thankfully I've failed at this enough, and I had enough to drink that I didn't care whether I succeeded or failed tonight. I went with the sarcastic, joke approach. "I'm not sure if you could notice from the other side of the bar or not, but I can run extremely fast." After a 5 minute recovery trying to explain what I was talking about, I received her phone number and safety made it home from the bar that night.
Domino #6: The relationship. Here I could include, the first date, the first fight, first kiss, etc. but fast forward everything and consolidate it into one domino. The relationship worked.
The Final Domino: I executed the most amazing engagement proposal that you could ever imagine, and we got married. After 3 kids and a lifelong full of experiences, I retired and lived happily ever after.
Ok, at a certain point during that story those dominos changed from factual information to fictional information, but you understand the point. When did I start making up fake dominos? Let's just say that I made it home safe from the bar that night alone.
But all of this very well could have been true and it all started with one thing, asking my coworker about her boots. If I didn't ask her about those boots, I never would have experienced such a fun night out reminiscing with an old high school football friend, I would have been at that bar on a Tuesday night, I wouldn't have met that girl, I wouldn't have gotten married and I wouldn't have had those kids. It all started with those boots.
So take that single day that I just experienced for example and multiply it to every day of your life. It's kind of scary to think about. Every single decision, every single day matters. Be as good as you can at every single decision because they all add up.