Connection is the driving in force in many things we do and how we relate to others. Some connection is deeper than others. An analogy in my own life is that when I spend a lot of solitary time my system runs off of batteries and at some point it will be important to plug in and often that comes in the form of a stimulating conversation with another human being and generally it has to be in the same space in order to fully charge my batteries. Where do we find those outlets to plug into? Sometimes in the unlikeliest places?
My day started out with a trip to the Honda dealership. I’ve been receiving cards in the mail informing me of the Takata airbag recall. My recollection was that I’d already had this serviced so for the past year the cards have been vanquished to the recycle bin. Finally I caved in and called the dealership for an appointment. Apparently the recall was in waves and the past transaction was for the driver side airbag and this one was for the passenger side which was the one I had thought they replaced previously. It never pays to assume especially when I’m often driving my niece and nephew places and couldn’t live with myself if they were the victims of shrapnel. Graphic I know but sometimes those thoughts are what force us to make the right moves in life. I digress…back to the subject at hand. Part of the process at the dealership is to point out other areas which may or may not have been neglected. In my case my Honda Element was in great shape but required some fluid and air filter changes. I checked the prices as was there and then called my trusted mechanics at A+ Automotive in St. Louis with whom I maintain a connection. It’s very important in life to have a doctor one trusts and a mechanic. The fellas at A+ were able to squeeze me in as soon as I could get there and ordered the parts right away. Now I can go on and on why I trust them but that is a whole other blog.
My visits to A+ often involve waiting for my vehicle as it’s too much to trouble someone for a ride as most of the time they take care of the maintenance within a few hours unless it’s a complicated issue. This is good time to read and reflect and I was doing so with an informative book titled The 80/20 manager by Richard Koch. A few takeaways from my reading today are you’ll receive better results networking with casual acquaintances then with friends and family, successful people are willing to share their knowledge and humans have an inbuilt desire to collaborate and help each other. As I’m sitting in the waiting another customer is talking on the phone and even though I did my best to avoid eavesdropping I was enamored by some of the things he said, especially, “The glass is never half half full because the other half contains air.” He also shared with his wife why he continues to utilize the services of A+ and not shop around to other mechanics and based on his answer he also was dialed in to the theme of connection and loyalty.
Vance and Dave are experts in relaying information on what work is to be undertaken on a vehicle and why. After they consulted one of us I made the comment on why I choose to give them my business; their attention to detail and affordability. I also commented on over hearing his philosophy of the glass being full and this opened up a wealth of topics including both of us losing our dads this past year. It was such a rich conversation which was diverse but the theme is connection and this came about when discussing my video work and the coolest thing about it was I had just read a passage in the book earlier in the morning which advised that networking happens in the oddest places and you never know who you may help with your knowledge and connections.
There are many aspects which make up my art and career and I currently label myself as a visual storyteller which peaks interest. I shared the stories of some projects I’ve had the honor of bringing to the screen and sent a link to the most recent commercial campaign for the St. Louis City and County Libraries. Throughout the conversation it never crossed my mind to blog about it until the question was asked “Why do you do what you do?” We talked about whys in life at different times throughout the conversation and these questions are a major part of the equation which made the conversation with Clint Willett interesting and a few years ago I may not have been able to answer it but immediately I knew the answer and a feeling of joy filled my consciousness. The most important thing about this work for me is a connection to the subjects of the stories. I enjoy immersing myself in their worlds to find out who they are at their core and then put it into a format which can be viewed. It takes a lot of energy to do so but when the connection is there the energy is flowing in as fast as it goes out. This doesn’t just occur in relation to visual stories but in any work that we do which I feel is one of the core messages of the 80/20 principle.
While driving home I reflected on the 20% of the stories I’ve told visually which were responsible for 80% of the strong connections I felt and the first thing which popped into my head and warmed my heart is the commencement video for Webster University which celebrated Koko Kondo the youngest survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima. I had not met Koko until the day she arrived on campus but felt as if I had known her based on the energy conveyed through the interview subjects. I had immersed myself in the story and when I met her for the first time it was as I had known her my whole life. There was a strong sense of connection and tears filled my eyes the first time I viewed it in front of an audience.
I’m incredibly grateful to the subjects and collaborators I’ve connected with over the years and the to Clint Willett for the incredible conversation which I never expected to have while waiting on my vehicle. I look forward to hearing more about his company Biomat Infrared Health Solutions and joining he and his wife in learning more about breathwork. These type of connections are what make life so sweet and there are times I need a reminder to realize that the glass is full and take to take a deep breath and enjoy it.