Each step I take outside of my comfort zone I am rewarded. Each time I poke my head outside my social circle I discover something new. Each time I walk this world alone I realize that I’m not alone at all.
As I have projected myself out into this universe I have found that the universe always has the answers for me. And by continually walking down unfamiliar paths I have been able to discover new things about myself and ultimately find a new direction in my life.
My willingness to occasionally cut ties from my traditional social circles has been a major factor in allowing me to discover these paths and a catalyst for my change. Today I am no longer afraid to throw myself out into the world and because of this a whole new world entirely has opened up.
What I’ve found is that by spending extended periods of time alone in my city or abroad I’ve been able to open myself up to serendipitous encounters and unforeseen possibilities. New opportunities for friendships, perspectives on career and ideas for business ventures have appeared before me because I have been willing to walk this world alone.
Over the last two years there have been many instances where my own isolation has led me to these uncanny encounters with perfect strangers. Whether in a coffee shop in Boston, a dive bar in San Francisco, or a city park in Toronto these situations have perpetually popped up and each time I have welcomed them openly.
Through these opportune encounters I’ve met all types of fascinating people and experienced a little bit of everything. I’ve had invigorating caffeinated conversations, gone on wild inebriated adventures and created lasting connections that are still with me today.
I’ve had coffee with a world traveler, sipped tea with an entrepreneur, and exchanged books with a psychologist. I’ve gotten drunk with a journalist, attended an art show with a fashion designer, and took shots with a hip-hop producer. I’ve broken bread with a start-up CEO, clinked glasses with a retired teacher and watched the sunset with a hippy.
I have expanded my circle to a new dimension and learned a lot about myself along the way. And perhaps the most magical part of all is that within each encounter I could be the truest version of myself. Every aspect of my life could be disclosed and there was no fear of judgment. How could you judge someone you hardly knew and may never see again? Instead, we could help each other. Each of us had the opportunity to provide an outside perspective on the other’s life – giving unbiased opinions and virtuous guidance.
The conversations always flowed fluently from one matter to the next. The topics would move from discussing personal conflicts to debating societal issues to fiddling with philosophical principles. Each dialogue stimulated me in a drug-like way I had never before experienced. It was as if these perfect strangers understood me and I understood them.
And even though these moment came and went quickly, the reciprocal effects have lingered. Each experience allowed me to see my own life from a different lens. Each experience allowed me to get a peak into another person’s life. Each experience helped me grow and get closer to my true identity.
Looking back right now it’s hard to believe how fortunate I’ve been to meet all these people and experience these moments. It’s hard to believe how much they have started to shape my life. It’s hard to believe that if I didn’t step outside my comfort zone to walk this world alone none of these encounters would have happened and I may have remained unchanged.
Without these people I may never have begun this process of reaching for a new life. I would have never known there was something more to look for outside these cubicle walls. And in the beginning all it took was my willingness to put myself out there, to break out of my comfort zone and escape my social circles. Now I’m certain of who I am and the direction I must go. Thanks to these perfect strangers.
Stay tuned for part 2 where I’ll go into examples of some of these serendipitous encounters and explain how they are still impacting my life. These stories may seem farfetched to you now but I assure you it’s all real, it’s all possible and it’s all worth it. Allow me to show you.
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