It’s a Big Small World: The Carlyn Connection in Bali

Having lived life “turning strangers into friends” for the last decade,  you can imagine the countless times I’ve called my Mom, slightly hysterical with a, “Holy Moly, you’re never going to believe this strangers to friends story!”. But after 10 years of me spewing tales of synchronicity, she’s never really surprised. Because…it’s me. And this is the story of my life. BUT, this story in particular, how I unknowingly created connection on November 20, 2018, took my “Holy Moly, Mom!”… to the next level.

Why?

I wasn’t even there!

This is the Story of 2 Women, Bali, Indonesia, Intuition and Crazy Synchronicity. Oh yea…and Me.

First, meet Marcy Morrison:

In 2009, after working for 4 years as a Travel RN Recruiter in San Diego,  I put all my energy and intention into manifesting my job layoff.. and it worked. This inspired two things: the “invention” of my first Strangers To Friends card… and… the questioning of “My Purpose”. Turned out, a RN Recruiting Co Worker had a son who was best friends with a boy who had a Mom, who was the Founder of Careers With Wings, so she connected us. Cue in Marcy. In 2010, Marcy became the first ‘Coach” I ever worked with, before everyone had a coach, but divinely on time. You see, this was the point in my life I began to recognize I had a gift of connection which opened myself to explore more passion in “what do I want to do”. Though I’d go onto accept another RN recruiting job a year later. I also, like the previous one, realized it no longer served and believe it or not, once again, manifested my layoff. With another “window of opportunity” to pursue my “purpose” of turning strangers into friends, I decided to leave San Diego and take on a 6 week, 15 city, cross country road trip and move to Wilmington, NC. This photo of Me & Marcy was snapped at my “Going Away” Party days before I hit the road! Fast forward 8 years:  though we don’t regularly keep in touch, we’ve literally been each others “cheerleaders” from afar. If nothing else, never missing a “Happy Birthday”. That’s how I knew, via Facebook, Marcy chose to celebrate her 50th this year in Bali, Indonesia!

Next, meet Sarah Leger:

January 2018, promoting an upcoming STF Experience, I sent a newsletter to the Strangers To Friends Meetup, announcing giveaways at the event from one of my favorite Colorado Local Businesses (another Strangers To Friends Story), Be Hippy. (PS: Enter code “Friends” to receive 10% off) The next day, I got a Meetup Message from a gal in Fort Collins asking to be connected with the owner of the company to inquire about sponsorship for her retreat! So, I connected them… and you guessed it, they agreed to partner! But it wasn’t this success that sparked my excitement. As Sarah and I moved from Meetup to Facebook, I asked questions! Turns out she’d recently relocated to Colorado via Boston (where I was born) and I was already friends with the gal speaking at her retreat! Small World! Clearly, we were meant to meet. This photo of Sarah was taken on Jan 16, 2018, the we sat for hours story swapping and salvaging over our synchronicity– and this slice of lemon cake ! (Side Note: the man behind us overheard our conversation… and us eyeing his piece of cake… and surprised us with a huge slice to share!) But, the real story: this coffee date was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.  For the last year, she and I have coached each other, collaborated with each other and even helped each other move. Moments she “needs” someone, I’m her go to. The moment I need  a “pick me up”, she seems to know.  That’s why I was so excited she was off to Bali, Indonesia for the month of November for the trip of a lifetime.  The next photo was taken Jan 20, 2019 unaware it was our 1 Year Friendaversary!

Nowthe REAL STORY BEGINS:

An 18 hour time difference text message pops up from Sarah, “You’re not going to believe this, but I channeled my “inner Carlyn” and met a friend of yours in Bali!”

Wait, what is she talking about??? Who do I know in Bali?

Here’s the CRAZY “small world” story:

After traveling for 2 weeks in Asia with her job as the Alumni Events Director for Semester At Sea, Sarah was on the last leg of trip, now waiting in the Bali Airport to get picked up to head to her Uncle’s Home in Ubud. Feeling all the feels from a day of travel, she craved connection with someone friendly, perhaps an American Woman,  someone with whom she could relate. Have you ever thought to “randomly” talk so someone across the room? Though I know Sarah as a leader, I also know, she isn’t the gal who typically jumps up to head across the room and strike up “stranger” conversations. That is, until the “What Would Carlyn Do?” thoughts popped into her mind!

As she shared with me, she glanced around the airport and spotted a blonde woman by herself, who she did a double take on because the thought looked just like me! She sat thinking, “I bet Carlyn would walk up to her and stranger to friend her!”And with that thought, she inspired herself to walk up to her and initiate a conversation. Per her story, they immediately fell into a comfortable flow and realizing they shared a lot of small world stories! Both are in the “coaching” world. Both have a passion for travel. Both are spiritual.  But it wasn’t so much what the had in common but, per Sarah, how she felt: at ease. An instant connection. AND the connection boosted her confidence and self trust, knowing her intuition was spot on! Knowing Sarah’s family would be there shortly to pick her up, they began to  wrap up their conversation. Thats when the story went from good to… you’ve got to be kidding me! Without thinking anything of it, Sarah casually said, “I’m so happy I came and said hi! You really do remind me of my friend, Carlyn”.  Cue Marcy looking at her a little funny. Without skipping a beat, she replied, “Wait, Carlyn Shaw?”. Marcy knew Sarah lived in Colorado, I lived in Colorado and how many Carlyn’s in Colorado could there be?

—–record scratch—-

Think about this: Sarah thought “what would Carlyn Do?”, spots a woman who she think LOOKS LIKE ME (on the OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD), in a small airport, builds up the courage to practice what “Carlyn Preaches”, and as a reward…. the universe hands her MY FRIEND! Imagine if she’d allowed the little bit of fear or resistance to talk her out of saying hello. What a heartbreaking thought!!! It always comes down to the moment we decide to say YES TO CONNECT that the magic happens! Second guessing due to threat is one thing but doubting due to fear of a story you make up in your mind is another. I still shake my head in disbelief: I wasn’t physically there yet my spirit kick started a stranger to friend story, in Bali. I’m beaming with pride.

So, since both of them know the power of “the follow up” they exchanged contact info to connect again in Bali! Now, I don’t know what I love more about this story: how my words of wisdom helped inspired action– or the fact she thought we looked so much alike and THAT’S what ultimately made her go say “Hi”. You see, everything’s connected. People. Places. Timing. Thoughts. All of it. here’s proof: 

The Post Epic Story Follow UP

Best part about their connection is it reconnected me & Marcy, too! Having not spoken face to face in several years, she couldn’t wait to tell me her side of the story. So, she asked if I’d like to hop on a Zoom Chat and be interviewed for her new show, The Passion Purpose Academy. Just think, 10 years after I hired her as my “Purpose” Coach and she’s interviewing me to learn about Strangers To Friends. Talk about a Big, Small, World.  Check us out below!

Do you have a favorite Small World Travel Story? I’d LOVE to hear your tales of synchronicity and connection! Send a photo if you have it & your story and I’ll share on Instagram and Facebook! to Carlyn@StrangersToFriends.com 

Has Social Media Changed the Art of Conversation — PART 2

The other day I wrote a story about bumping into a friend I hadn’t seen in a year – and how being Facebook Friends influenced our initial conversation. My intention was not to cast a shadow over our ability to constantly keep our friends and family up to date on our latest endeavors but rather get you thinking about what ISN’T being said due to the amount of information we post to our people on a daily basis – check it out:  Has Social Media Changed the Art of Conversation

BUT– my attempt to “challenge” the Art of Conversation wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t highlight the flip side of Facebook and how it actually creates topics of conversation, rather than assumptions. You see, the VERY SAME DAY I had the AH HA moment questioning what to ask my friend knowing what she’d shared on FB, I also had another AH HA moment, and that is, sometimes social media opens the flood gates, inviting in facts on friends we would never know, or think to ask, in an initial conversation. Hence, Social Media enhances the Art of Conversation. My story goes like this…

While soaking up the sunshine and bouncing around to the beats at music festival in Denver, CO, I met a girl named Emery.  She was friends with the same girl I wrote about in the first blog. With feathers in her ear and smile on her face, I instantly felt drawn to start chatting with her. Having an organic conversation with a “stranger” is one of my favorite things to do. Literally. I love asking questions, learning people’s stories, exploring a new connection.  She happily told me the story of her recent move from Tampa, FL to Boulder, CO to live closer to her sisters. Ah- Tampa! This opened up room for me to share with her that I have a very dear friend that lived there for years and loved it! I never mentioned the name of my friend that lived in Tampa but me mentioning this opened the conversation for Emery to tell me even more about her experience while living there.  As the songs continued to play, we continued to dance. And then… out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a guy wearing a tie dyed t shirt that said “Ned Fest”….

Side note: I have a cat named Ned. When I moved to Denver I learned of a music festival called Ned Fest. I jokingly said that if they sell tshirts at this festival I need to go just to get one. This was my first “Ned Fest T Shirt Sighting”!   Being the Stranger to Friend Girl, of course I pushed my way through the crowd just to capture his tshirt in a kodak moment, introduced myself and exchanged a laugh. The guy loved it.  Once I made my way back to Emory, I obviously had to explain why I split to take  a picture of a random guy. Feeling giddy, I told her about my cat, Ned–and, that ironically, I adopted him from the very same girlfriend I’d previously spoken about, the one that loved living in Tampa! It was funny, the way the conversation continued to flow. I know this isn’t making much sense yet, but by the end of this story, it will 🙂

At the end of the festival, I was invited to hang out with Emery and our mutual friends. As we walked to their place, I realized we were headed in the same direction as my car. Since I’d gone out solo that day, it was super serendipitous that my car was parked around the corner from their condo. So, when it was time to leave, Emery offered me a ride back so I didn’t have to walk by myself. This gave us the chance to chat, listen to some good tunes and reflection the fun day! When we said goodbye, I knew somehow I would see this girl again because I wanted to be her friend. I gave her my Stranger to Friend card and told her I’d find her on FB. The next day, I friend-ed her.

Within minutes of me friending her, I received a message: “How do you know Ellen?”   Wait, what?? This goes back to my side note 🙂 You see, the girlfriend that lived in Tampa, the one I adopted Ned from,  was in fact a friend of mine for over 10 years, named Ellen. When initially story swapping, I never thought to mention her name during our conversation! Tampa is a big city so I didn’t think to assume she would know my friend,  who actually now lives in North Carolina.  The whole point of my last article was NOT to assume, but rather to ASK. And here I’d done exactly what I was preaching not to do, assume, but on a completely different level. But now, becoming friends on Facebook, Emery was quick to notice Ellen as a mutual friend. What are the odds, right? In learning this, we instantly had a new common connection AND this opened up even more conversation! Plus, both knowing the same person gave more insight into each other because when you share a friend, you usually share a reason to be friends 🙂

Me, Emory's Sister, Dana & Emory

Me, Emory’s Sister, Dana & Emory

Reality is, this Social Media connection wouldn’t have happened had I not taken the opportunity to get to know Emery. This involved ASKING questions, LISTENING to her responses, LEARNING commonalities and SHARING my own thoughts to continue the conversation. Once again, this is a great example of not only Good People Finding Good People…. but that we truly are, all connected.

How many of you have a similar story of a Small World connection as a result of Social Media? I challenge you, the next time you see someone you’d like to meet, whether their smile or their tshirt grabs your attention, take the opportunity to introduce yourself, to ask them about themselves, to share a story or two. You never know where this conversation will lead.

 

Has Social Media Changed the Art of Conversation?

To ask or not to ask? To assume or not to assume?

social-media-conversation

The other day I had this crazy AH HA moment. I was at a music festival in downtown Denver, CO, flowing through the crowd of colorful people when all of a sudden… I bumped into a girl friend I didn’t know would be there that I hadn’t seen in over a year! We both smiled with excitement and totally hugged it out.  Stepping back, I admired how great she looked and then asked the standard question that two friends ask that haven’t hung out in ages:

“How have you been?”

Only in that moment… without her saying a word, a flash flood of facts began to circle my mind.

Not only was I aware of her move 8 months ago , when she followed her heart across the country to be with her love, but I also felt a tad sad for her with the news that the relationship ended, which is why she was back in town . I was in the know about the super fun week-long cruise she went on with a bunch of her closest friends and the concert she recently rocked out at with her local besties. I knew she became a first time home owner last month.  I could even tell her where she ate donuts last week.

How did I know this? Am I psychic?

No. We are friends on Facebook.

And then I began to go deeper. I wondered what she thought when she saw me? Thinking back to what I had given myself the green light to share over the past 12 months. However, only I, as well as the people involved with me on a more personal level, shared my secret in that I did not update my status with every major life event I’d overcome in the past 12 months. Perhaps people thought I did? But really, who shares everything. I only chose to share, based on my personal standards, what I believed was appropriate. SO, who was I to assume I knew what was going on in her life? Most likely, she only posted what personal information she also felt needed no filter.

Reality was, our conversation kick started with an outline of our lives, bullet points of socially shared information.

How many times have you crossed paths with an old co worker or classmate and didn’t ask as many probing questions about their lives because you assumed the answers due to their status updates?   Or you casually ran into an old friend but tip toed around the big, pink elephant in the room, the life-changing event they posted yet you didn’t know how to bring it up without being inappropriate. Or, maybe you are one of those Facebook Friends that rarely tags a picture of family or checks into a restaurant but instead you scroll the feed keeping up to date on what’s going on with your circle of cyberspace buddies. Now what, do you tell them you visit (face stalked) their page even though your page has the same Profile Picture from last Fall, meaning the face to face friend is oblivious to your own life. These scenarios are new realities we deal with as a result of the influence of Social Media. The art of the conversation has a new normal.

About an hour after my friend and I initially started chatting in the beer line, I decided to share with her all these questions that filled my mind as we walked towards the stage to get our groove on. Did it feel a bit awkward? Yes. BUT, I opened our conversation to discuss all the “status update” details we’d skipped over, lifting the veil of assumption. It also pushed the big, pink elephant out of the way, giving us more room to dance in the sunshine and sing to the live tunes that brought us together in the first place.

So I’m curious, do you allow what you read about your friends to be the backbone of conversation? Do you feel a sense of responsibility to address information you know about someone when you see them? Does it embarrass you to acknowledge all that you know of them from their Facebook feed even though they shared knowing all had the ability to read?

Please scroll down to comment below, I’d love to start a Social Media Conversation 🙂