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The Timing of the Dots

Recently, something affirming happened which exemplified to me the power of connecting the dots; especially in lives that aren’t always symmetrical. Sometimes they zig-zag, sometimes they take a right turn instead of left, and sometimes the dots line up to create beautiful symmetry.

Then once in a while, we get to help the dots connect for someone else; and during the process, we may even learn something also. Listening to our internal radio frequencies as well as the external ones can often lead us to the power of connectivity – not just with others but within ourselves too.

It is one of the reasons why it is essential to pay attention, to listen, and to help if we can – a lesson taught to me by some fantastic teachers over the years – and one that I try to keep in mind as I navigate each day.

If you have ever been on the giving end or the receiving end of a kind gesture, then you probably understand the impact it can have; not only for the person doing the giving but also for the person on the receiving end. At least, this is what happened to me.

Recently, I had the opportunity to help someone who reached out to me on Linkedin. With a personal message that was genuine and professional, she explained why she was contacting me and that we shared a common link.

So, when her message came through, there are several ways I could have responded:

  • Read it
  • Ignore it
  • Read it but never respond
  • Read it and respond

I chose the latter because regardless of whether I could assist her or not, she took the time to research the company, and she found a common link. Without knowing whether her efforts would pay off, she reached out anyway.

I could tell she had moxie, and her courage impressed me. She was reaching out to a stranger, after all, with no guarantee of response. It may not seem like a big deal for some people. However, for those of us who have ever had that trepidation before doing so will understand. It can take a lot of gumption to get past that anxiety and press send.

Her desire to be a part of a creative growth culture where mentorship exists was evident. She recognized her level of professional experience and was open to an internship or mentorship program where she could learn the ropes and immerse herself in a thriving culture and business.

Therein, was the connector in the sea of dots: It just so happens, I work for the company that is on her radar.

Our common link is that we are alumni from the same college; albeit many years in between our graduation dates. But the time makes no difference; although timing often does. I remember being that recent graduate trying to find my first real post-college job and the challenges therein. I could have wallpapered my room with rejection letters.

Most of all, however, I remembered what it felt like to have someone extend an act of kindness to me when I was pursuing employment. So, paying forward when and if I can is important to me. And besides, you had me at “fellow Laker.”

For me, what she did, how she did it, and why she did it holds weight. It demonstrated her determination and dedication to her goals and aspirations. There is merit in her efforts, and even if I couldn’t help her, I still would have taken the time to correspond with her.

I sent her back a reply, thanking her for reaching out and striking up a conversation. What followed were several lovely exchanges back and forth, and we created an excellent rapport with one another; which further validated my instincts about her.

I couldn’t promise anything to her, but I was happy to champion her and share her information. So, I reached out to the hiring manager in the respective functional area of the company, shared the story of how we connected, and passed along her information. I knew that there was an open position; and although it is out of my functional area, I hoped that the dots would connect for her.

As timing and fate would have it, the dots began to connect even further. The hiring manager was extremely interested, and a member of her team reached out right away. So, imagine my excitement when I found out a few days later that she was coming in for an interview!

The bonus: I got to meet this lovely young woman in person. It was like we had known each other for years. I was thrilled to give her a big hug and chat with her in person.

As my friend, Sarah Elkins, who is the brainchild behind the No Longer Virtual Conference would say, we were “connecting beyond the keyboard.”

It was exciting and fun for both of us to meet in person, and I am so glad that I took the time to invest in getting to know her.

My initial instinct was right. This young woman will be happily joining our team soon and starting her career in her desired field!

I am so excited for her and the new chapter she is about to start. It’s funny. She is so gracious, kind, and thankful for what I did. But I didn’t do much other than to help open the door. She still had to walk through it and do what she does best: shine. And that’s just what she did. As for me, I am happy I was able to play a small role in all of this.

It is a prime example of how the power of connectivity can open doors – even unexpected ones. After all, we live in a world of millions of scenarios, and all this could have played several ways. However, as fate, timing, and the dots would have it, I believe that it worked out exactly as it was meant to be.

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Laura Mikolaitis
Laura Mikolaitishttps://bellasolwrites.blogspot.com/
Laura is an intuitive dot connector who loves to weave tapestries of possibility by seeing beyond the symmetry. A life long learner and achiever, Laura isn't one to sit idle and jumps at any chance to learn something new, especially if it poses a challenge. She holds a Master of Science degree in Communications and Information Management from Bay Path University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from SUNY Oswego. Laura is known for her keen ability to deep dive, assess, and present solutions that work. She also believes that showing vulnerability doesn't mean that you are weak, lack confidence, or cannot get the job done. For Laura, it helps her understand on a deeper level and make meaningful connections, which enables her to establish lasting relationships and partnerships. Laura spent many years of her career in manufacturing and consumer packaged goods before leaping to textiles. She's tackled roles such as Brand Manager, Product Development Manager, Project Manager, and Director of Global Business Development and Sales Operations. Currently, Laura is on what she fondly refers to as a career interruption of opportunity, as she seeks out the next chapter of her life. Laura hails from Northern NY, but a tiny hill town in Massachusetts captured her heart years ago. She credits her writing, which laid dormant for years, to her late mom, who always believed in her. Inspired by millions of moments, Laura writes unabashedly from the heart. Whether it is poetry, fiction, or a personal essay, her love for the written word feeds her mind, body, and spirit. With a dash of hope and a sprinkle of faith, she is the little engine that could.

16 COMMENTS

  1. What a fabulous post Laura, this young lady has been incredibly blessed to meet you and as you say, her having the courage to make the ask is what led her to that open door. I always say “never underestimate the power of the ask”!

    • Thanks so much, Dee. If we don’t ask, then the answer is already no. It’s about getting past the trepidation we might feel; however, that can be challenging. Yet, after we do it is also freeing.

      I appreciate your kind words – thanks for taking the time to share them.

  2. Laura, so well said. As I was reading your piece and remembering when I have helped people, those good neuro-chemicals that Melissa Hughes talks about started flowing all over again.

    And then came the memories of the people I had reached out to appear on my podcast, for example, and all I had received back were crickets. How long does it take to say something like “Jeff, some pretty big priorities prevent me from saying “Yes! right now, but your podcast sounds interesting. Thank you so much for your interest.” 15 seconds?

    As my Mom was want to say, “Well, somebody got too big for their britches, didn’t they?”

    Keep letting your initial instinct be your guide. The women you helped will pay it forward.

    • Thanks so much, Jeff. Those good neuro-chemicals are quite something, aren’t they? It’s such a natural high, and I find it can carry through to many other areas of our life. It’s just a good feeling.

      Like you, I’ve often been on the “cricket” end of the spectrum also. It’s not necessarily a good feeling. That’s why I always try to make an effort to answer back. I think it is important to acknowledge another person’s time spent with the ask, but not everyone feels the same it seems.
      I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this topic, Jeff and for making time to do so. It means a lot!

  3. I love this. I was taught at a young age to be friendly and talk to people. Ask any one of my friends I will talk to anybody and everybody. LOL Because of this, I have learned so much as you NEVER know whom you are conversing with. I talk to people in line at the grocery store, people at the farmers market, the library – everywhere. When I am introduced to someone I look at it as an opportunity to help someone, learn from and possibly a new friend. It’s a small world. I believe we are put on this earth to help each other.

    • Sandy, I love your comments! I, too was taught to be friendly and kind and to talk with people. I also can strike up a conversation just about anywhere -, and I have, and I do! I even say good morning to the sheep and cows when I run past them on my morning jog. They often say hello back :) I think it’s essential to say hello and to acknowledge others. You never know who may need that smile or that small exchange of words. It can make a huge difference in someone’s day. Thanks so much for being here – I appreciate your contribution.

  4. “It is a prime example of how the power of connectivity can open doors – even unexpected ones.” Wow, Laura. What a great story. It is difficult to ignore the orchestration of events that puts the right people together at the right time under the most ideal of circumstances. Kudos to you for tapping into your intuition, discernment, and generosity. Happy outcomes for everyone! Thank you for sharing.

    • Thanks so much, Mary. I truly appreciate your thoughtful sentiments and your constant support and encouragement. I’ve learned from you that humanness is essential in all aspects of our lives, including in the workplace. So, I try to model that whenever and however I can. The universe sent me this, and I am so grateful to have been able to put some kindness out there.

  5. Just lovely Laura! You are so right as you pen so beautifully. It takes courage to reach out and be vulnerable to being ignored. Cheers to the young woman and to you for extending kindness and recognizing her valor. Nothing can replace the human connection. Thank you for this!?

    • Thanks so much, Darlene! I appreciate you taking the time to engage with me here. It certainly does take courage to reach out. When I mentioned the trepidation in my article, it’s because I’ve felt that on a few occasions. It’s eased over time and with the support of a great community – another benefit of taking the plunge. Human connection is even more critical in our world right now, and I’m thrilled I was able to see it come full circle.

  6. And what we often times never find out is how much courage it took for her to reach out. We talk about asking for help, we write posts and articles about having the courage to reach out, to “make the ask” or however it is being described; we have scenarios in our heads about “she’s too busy, what possible reason would she have to respond…” and any number of reasons can be concocted, real or otherwise, of why not to take the leap. And in this era of what can sometimes feel like creeping creepiness, I have often wondered when I have reached out or just sent a note of congratulations or thanks to someone, does that person possibly sense that I have less than pure motives behind the communication… When someone reaches out to me, I can sometimes wonder “what the heck can I offer anyone else?” Laura, you offer four choices, and within that fourth choice there are any number of responses that can made; and we ultimately hope that leading the list of those choices is kindness, and generosity.

    And if your instincts wouldn’t have been correct? And you didn’t hit it off in person, or she wouldn’t be a good fit for your team? What would have been lost? You may have been able to point in her another direction, found someone else for her to connect with, whatever – in the end, we never know what we are getting ourselves into when we risk a personal interaction. But ultimately, what was at risk? A little of your time, maybe? We often play the risk/reward game out to its ultimate conclusion in our heads, and then choose to ignore a request or someone’s attempt at reaching out… and then the loss is ours.

    This new world of social media is a huge democratizing opportunity, and not only does it make the world smaller, but it offers opportunities that our ancestors never could have envisioned. How else would someone like me, prattling on about so many things here, safely in my secure little bubble of Appleton, Wisconsin, ever have made friends, dear friends, of someone like Sarah Elkins, or Kimberly Davis or Laura Staley or Mike Johnson or Aaron Skogen or any number of other people who I have connected with first, virtually, and then personally. Connecting beyond the keyboard is such a rich, risky and bewildering blessing, and it’s another layer of beauty and texture that comes from living in this messy age. For all the downsides, risks and potential unpleasantness, I’ll never stop being thankful for it. Thank you for this lovely, wonderful, encouraging message, Laura!

    • Tom, I cannot tell you how much I love this unabridged version of your comments in response to my article. It is full of rich ingredients and delightful insights. Not to mention, it is an excellent extension to my article, and I thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

      This statement resonates: “We often play the risk/reward game out to its ultimate conclusion in our heads, and then choose to ignore a request or someone’s attempt at reaching out… and then the loss is ours.” I know I’ve played this game in the past, and certainly am not immune to it. A good friend once shared with me that if we don’t ask, then the answer is already no. It’s something I try to keep in mind when I am wrestling with whether or not to reach out to someone. There are times when I have sent the message and not heard anything back, and it can cause some trepidation about doing it again. However, on the flip side when you get a reply, and it ends up burgeoning into a beautiful friendship, you know it’s worth the risk.

      I have yet to make to a No Longer Virtual conference, but I am pushing to do it in 2020 because I know that there is value in it. I agree with you about how social media makes the world smaller, but it does open doors that we may not have been able to go through before. Frankly, I am thrilled that I’ve been able to meet, engage, and befriend so many people from such diverse backgrounds.

      Thank you again, Tom, for sharing these insights with me. I sure enjoy reading them.

    • Thanks so much, Larry. You are right. We often do walk past people without seeing them. I know that I have. However, I try to make a substantial effort to pay attention more and to help when I can. People have been kind and gracious to me over the years, and I’ve gleaned many lessons from them. So, I try to do what I can to pay it forward. Thankfully, the universe put this in my orbit, and I was thrilled to play a small role in helping someone reach their goal.

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