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Learning About Other People

I have learned a lot in my life and most of it was not in the classroom.  I am learning what people do for a living. I am learning how to sell. I am learning how to assess needs. I’m still learning how to be a leader.  I’m still learning about myself.

If we stop learning, we miss out on tons of cool opportunities.

I am not an extrovert.  I could be happy typing away behind my computer for hours, really.  However, I realize, that what motivates me and what fulfills me is learning about new people.  I learned this from my dad.  (And I know I’ve written about this before).  I learned how to model his outgoing personality and have adapted it over the years to fit me.

B Scott

My dad would talk to anybody, anytime.  As a child, this was SO embarrassing.  He would walk into a restaurant and talk to the hostess about their business “Looks like you’re pretty busy this morning.”  He would start the conversation and let the other person speak and he listened.  As much as he loved to talk, he was a super listener.  By the time we left the restaurant, all the waitstaff and several customers (all whom he’d never met before that day) would smile and go out of their way to say “Good-bye Scott!” These were his new best friends for the day.  He did this every day of his life.

Store clerks would recognize him when he returned a year later.  He would pick up the conversation where it left off.  “So, how’s the farm going?” he would ask, miraculously remembering that from the questions he asked over a year ago. It wasn’t just complete strangers he could listen to.  Aunts, uncles, cousins, fraternity brothers, neighborhood friends, childhood friends, all stayed in touch with him (or he stayed in contact with them).  He loved reaching out and making a quick call to see what his friends were up to.  Out of the blue, you could expect a call from Scott.  He was also the family news distributor.  Whenever anything significant occurred, you could count on him to circulate the good news!  “Hey, did you hear David got a new job?” “Did you know Jeff was going to climb Mt. Everest?”

I share this story of my dad to help you understand that networking isn’t pushing your agenda.  Networking isn’t just for job search.  Networking occurs all the time.  My dad didn’t do this expecting anything in return.  It was his genuine interest and he loved to learn.

Take off whatever hat you are wearing “job seeker”, “business analyst”, “speaker”, “coach”… and just listen and learn.

“The heart is not measured by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others” The Wizard of Oz

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Phyllis Griswold January 19, 2011, 2:08 pm

    I saw this update on Linked In and read it. I am glad that I did. It was nice to ehar about your Dad. This piece is awesome. You are a great writer. What a testimony to your Dad and also a fabulous story which is what made you such a GREAT trainer. You can tie a story into a lesson and bring that point to life.

    How can you find a position that lets you write like this and get paid? HOw about something on the national level?

    Let’s have lunch sometime soon to discuss. Event the Career Sherpa needs career help sometimes.


  • gee backhouse January 19, 2011, 3:05 pm

    I love how you’ve journeyed from sometimes embarrassed to mostly enchanted by this gentleman. Wonderful post! Put’s things into perspective. Thank you, Gee.

    • Hannah Morgan January 20, 2011, 4:51 am

      So nice hearing from you!
      I think most kids/teenagers are embarrassed by their parents, aren’t they? What a wonderful thing it is to get older and wiser! My dad left a wonderful legacy, one my brother and I deeply respect and honor as much as we can!
      Thank YOU!

  • Carol White Llewellyn January 19, 2011, 10:56 pm

    Hannah –

    Great post! I think of a writer friend who is very much like your Dad. She walks into a place and just get talking to anyone. I’ve always found it a remarkable talent. Your father sounds as if he was a very special person and a wonderful inspiration for your life. Thanks for sharing and reminding us to listen more than we speak!

    • Hannah Morgan January 20, 2011, 4:53 am

      Many thanks! As with any of us, my dad had his flaws too. My mom reminds us not to “canonize” him. I find it helpful and healing to remember the good.
      Thank you for your continued support! We’ll catch up soon!

  • Melissa Cooley January 21, 2011, 2:16 am

    I had to laugh when I read this — I felt the same way about my mother when I was a teenager. She’d strike up conversations standing in line at the grocery store; when I asked her who that was, she’d say, “I don’t know.” (Of course, I find myself doing the same thing now…)

    You last line really hits the nail on the head. To be truly effective at networking, folks need to stop thinking about their own circumstances and absorb what is happening with the person in front of them.

    • Hannah Morgan January 21, 2011, 6:49 am

      Exactly what my dad did! Everywhere we went!!!!

      Thanks for you comment and reinforcing the point that this isn’t all about US…it is about the other person!
      Have a good weekend!

  • neversayneigh September 7, 2012, 7:24 am

    Great memories of a most special one. Thanks for sharing! And The Wizard of Oz quote is entirely appropriate!