Everyone has a story.

The good news is, you don’t have to know each and every unwritten memoir to have a meaningful connection. I’ll show you how.

We live in a multi-tasking world. We cook a half dozen meals at the same time. We crave, almost addict like, for instant gratification. We don’t have the time, check that, we don’t make the time to get to know -their story.-

A story. You have one; your co-worker has one; your neighbor has one; your customer has one. We all have a story.

Since I was a kid, I’ve always been interested in other people’s stories.

I guess it’s why I became a coach.

For the last five years or so, I’ve had fun playing in the Whitman School of Management alumni mentoring program at Syracuse University.

Mentors like myself, volunteer to help students in numerous areas: interviewing skills, securing an internship, making a connection, sharing experiences in business and life, to name a few.

Brian, a Gen Y Garden State entrepreneur, figuring out where he wants to make a dent, a difference, my mentee this semester, asked to interview me for a class project. Without hesitation I said “Let’s do it!”

Here’s a taste of Brian’s questions:

  • How did you get into coaching?
  • When did you know you wanted to be a coach?
  • What were your biggest obstacles?
  • How big do you want to get? (Wow, nobody’s asked me that before.)
  • What’s your biggest regret?
  • Have you considered putting yourself on TV or radio? (Maybe I’ll hire Brian as a coach.)

For 60 minutes or so, I basked in the warmth of the fictional spotlight, fueled by Brian lobbing one introspective question after another, as the icy rain fell outside Huntington Hall on this chilly April Syracuse morning.

Brian was uber cool, showing indubitable interest regarding my story.

Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinkin. “Steve, the dude needed to write a paper and you were convenient.” I disagree mon ami!

Brian could have asked anyone to be the subject of his paper. He asked moi.

There was something else.

I’m what’s known as a Highly Sensitive Person, aka HSP (Google it.)

I pick up on everything. My sonar absorbs dimunitive details about a person or situation and enlarges them in vivid color on a 3D IMAX screen.

What I sensed about Brian was he genuinely cared about my answers. Locked in on my responses. He wasn’t staring down at his smartphone or looking out the plate glass windows on to Marshall St.

The Gen Y New Jerseyan demonstrated ICF Coaching Core Competency number four: Presence. He was with me the whole time.

Being totally immersed in a person’s thoughts is a gift to them. It doesn’t happen often, but boy when it does, it’s magical.

Brian, thanks for the gift. I was stupid happy inside.

I saw a quote this week from the one and only Mary Kay Ash who said:

 “Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’” 


Chick-fil-A, the restaurant chain, created a video to remind employees the opportunity they have to shape a special moment for someone, each and every time they’re in a customer’s presence.

I hope you take the time to watch it.


This week, I’m issuing a challenge. Consider it a double dog dare.

Be aware, that everyone you touch this week has a story. That’s it.

Then, come back and share how your behavior changed by being mindful and present.

p.s. Brian, I’m counting on you to ace this paper dude!

Photo courtesy of Zhao.





Share This