It’s a small world!

On a recent visit to meet with a perspective client I left the meeting with, of course, my to do list, but also with a note to share the experience with the ISTS team.

The night before the meeting, I spent a few minutes on the organization’s website familiarizing myself with their history and board of directors and getting a grasp of their organizations mnemonics. One name on their website jumped out at me, but being in my mid forties, I could not remember who he was or why his name was familiar. Luckily it came to me overnight.

When I was in graduate school I had the good fortune to be the research assistant for a former Federal Reserve board governor. A very down-to-earth-kind-of-guy, he was (and still is) on a first name basis with people like Allen Greenspan! In any case, he would invite his former colleagues in to talk to his monetary and fiscal policy classes and one of my jobs was to help organize these events. Yes, one of the people with whom I met had that morning, had spoken to my former professor’s class! Small world, huh?

So the discussion I will have with my team at work is thinking about how interconnected we all are. Five degrees of separation may easily become 2 or 3. A contact you made 20 years ago may impact something today. How can you use this fact to further your goals and plans? How does this impact decisions you make today?

For me, my parents’ use of the phrase ‘what goes around comes around’ comes to mind. But not in a spiteful or mean-spirited way; rather as a reminder that small gestures of kindness or taking a busy moment to listen attentively can have a big impact on those around us. As a graduate student a kind, engaged professor asked me what I was doing over the summer which lead to me becoming his research assistant until I graduated. Twenty something years later I met someone he knew on a business trip. Small world.