When you reach out and have the courage to step out of your comfort zone, you will learn some of the most amazing things about others – and yourself. My goal for spending a month in a small English town was to immerse myself in another culture and learn a different way of life. So one morning, I walk down to the town square and enter a local cafe.
A middle-aged gentleman is chatting (that’s what they call it in England) with the server behind the counter. It’s a very small café so I can hear every word. I decide to step out of my world and enter theirs. A simple “hello” does it.
The next thing I know – I’m sitting across the table from the gentleman, sipping coffee, and I ask him one simple question:
“So, what do you do here in Dorchester?”
I have found that people love to talk about themselves, so this is always a great ice-breaker. And if you listen – truly listen – you will learn so much about others, and ultimately yourself.
This gentleman responded: “a bell ringer”.
A what??? I didn’t even know that bell ringing was a profession, but here I was, sharing a “coffee date” with an official bell ringer of 31 years.
It made me realize that there are so many different paths in life we can take. So try it. Step out of your comfort zone and meet someone new. All it usually takes is a simple smile, or a friendly “hello”. And if you feel comfortable striking up a conversation, ask an open ended question to engage the other person. In this world of texting and emails, sometimes it’s nice to have an actual conversation. You never know what you may learn or where it may lead you.