Nobody's story is more important than another.
"I absolutely loved your story." People in the fashion industry have been moved by my pursuance into the male modeling world. As a gay, female, Latin engineer, I have already broken my boundaries into a world that most people would say is impossible to be successful. I haven't met too many people from my demographic background to lean on or learn from. No relatable mentors along the way. So how does a minority succeed in a market where they are not taken seriously? I had to overcome the stereotypes society so graciously bestowed on me. I understand that coming from this industry and migrating into a fashion industry as a model may seem like left field; but what I have discovered through this process is a new outlook on life and my study of people and relationships.
While I was working as an engineer in NYC, I encountered leaders in other industries with different leadership approaches. But there was a constant; The art of relationships-- the study of personalities, traits, background, behaviors, and reactions. This is the one thing that I believe makes great leaders and even more amazing people.
The art of relationships starts with a story...any story. Something told from one person to another. This story is a starting point for a relationship; any kind of relationship. Why is it that when two people are interested in each other in a more intimate sense, they tend to date? What is dating? It's a way to actually spend time with the other person to learn about them, to find similarities, and possible differences. Educating yourself to fully understand them and their life in order to determine if you like and eventually love them as a person. So all this time is spent getting to know this ONE person.
What if you try to actually meet new people everyday by listening to one story of their life. It could be a 5-minute conversation standing in line at a coffee shop or over a business meeting. Regardless, the more people you meet and connect with, the more likely you are going to find compassion in them and thus in the world. I truly feel that this small act of learning about people is the key to global love and compassion throughout the world. Less fighting, violence, and hatred that exist, the better our lives will be for ourselves and for our children.
So the next time to meet someone randomly or planned, take an extra minute or two to LISTEN and LEARN. That is my challenge to you.