Don't walk into a wet bush
That’s a funny title right? This is advice that I gave myself the other day after thoroughly embarrassing myself on the way to my car. As I sat in my car and dried the water from my face and shirt, I replayed the events that led to this embarrassing event.
You see I was leaving an important meeting with a colleague who’s team I look up to and value. As I was walking out the door I saw one of his staff members catching a breath of fresh air. I paused just long enough to extend my hand and introduce myself.
I asked his name and then said it was really nice to meet him. After this 15 second exchange, I turned to head to my car feeling quite proud of myself for leaving a powerful, “man on a mission”, impression on this fine young man.
The only problem is, I turned and walked headlong into a bush not a foot behind me. Oh, and it had just rained so it was a very wet bush! Here’s where everybody laughs including me as I write this blog. Because it was funny.
I hear this voice say, “watch out for that bush behind ya”. I turn around and said “yeah, that sucked”, and then continued walking to my car.
So let’s replay these events. In the spur of the moment I thought it would be great for me to introduce myself to this guy and leave an impression on him with my confident approach and firm handshake while maintaining solid eye control. After all, he was taller than me and some would say strikingly more handsome.
First impression made, I was done, and just turned and headed to my car. Hello wet bush!
In hindsight, I was pretty pompous. Perhaps even self important. I realize I should’ve struck up a short conversation with him and gotten to know him a little better. I should’ve cared about him, more than my next objective, email, or meeting. He’s a person after all, and has feelings.
I really wish I had talked to him another 30 seconds or so. Even just to ask how he liked working there or what he loves most about his job. Or about the weather that apparently had just stopped raining. Anything more than a cursory introduction from a self important CEO on his way to his next critical meeting would have been nice.
I learned a lot from that. Humility is indeed a tough lesson to be learned sometimes. The power to network with people and truly care about them is a skillset to be practiced and enjoyed.
Yes, lesson learned. The next time I’m introducing myself to someone I’ll take more time to get to know them - so that I don’t walk into another wet bush!