It was early in the morning, and I was traveling on a business trip. I had been up late the night before and was hoping that the plane would not be full. All I wanted to do was find my seat and go to sleep so that I would be energized when the plane landed. As I boarded the plane, the side of the plane where my seat was located was comprised of only 2 seats. I sighed to myself and hoped that the seat next to me would be vacant. Looking around, it was apparent that the plane wasn’t going to be full. So I thought to myself, if someone is next to me, I would just move to an empty row. With a plan in mind, it now didn’t matter if there was someone next to me.
Approaching my row, right next to the window was someone already seated next to my assigned seat. I thought, “just my luck.” I put my things down, spoke politely knowing it would only be minutes before I would be able to move. I closed my eyes in preparation for hearing the magic words that we had reached the altitude that would “free” me to move. But instead, I heard the pilot say “Please, keep your seat belts buckled, the weather is going to be turbulent for a while. We need for everyone to stay in their seats.” Now I opened my eyes to assess the situation. The man next to me, seeing my eyes open, comments. I think “oh no, he’s talking to me and I really don’t want to engage.” Hesitantly, I respond. Then he asks me if I am traveling for pleasure or business. I then explain that it is a business trip and that I am the owner of my consulting company, the Outcomes Management Group. Now, it’s hard for me to resist talking about my company. So now I explain what I do and my passion for outcomes. Then I ask him about his trip.
Now I learn that he has just relocated to Columbus for business and was also headed out for a business trip. I share with him that I had relocated to Columbus too and that my husband was the “Buckeye.” Then I tell him about my Ohio State Sweatshirt welcoming gift, describe how the City transforms itself on game days, suggest he gets prepared to become a part of Buckeye Nation, and remember that it is “The” Ohio State. He thanks me for the tips because this would be his first experience living in a community that was so engaged in college football. I remind him this isn’t just college football, it’s the “Big 10.” We share a laugh and then hear the pilot say “we are almost approaching our destination.” “Well, so much for sleeping.” Since, we’re about to land, I decide to continue engaging. “So what will you be doing in Columbus?” I ask. To which he replies, that he has joined McGraw Hill and would be overseeing research associated with their products. “I’m interested in outcomes too,” he replied and smiled. Now we can hear the pilot asking us to prepare for landing. He then gives me his business card and asks for mine. “It was great meeting you and thanks for welcoming me to Columbus. Look to hear from my office when I return. I would love to invite you to McGraw Hill and share information about an outcomes project that I am planning to undertake. Perhaps, it will be something of interest to you.” To which I respond, “ I look forward to hearing from your office and would welcome the opportunity to learn more about your project.”
Two weeks later, I get a call from his office assistant who schedules a meeting at their corporate office. One month later as I signed the contract with McGraw Hill, I was grateful that I had chosen to “speak to my seat mate” versus keep my eyes closed and “sleep.” Staying focused on “me” would had resulted in missing the blessing that had been placed intentionally beside me.
Stay alert, focused on others- your blessing may be where you least expect it!