[Editor's Note: Woody Woodcock is one of the most creative, unique-thinking, Socially Excellent, people we've ever met. That always comes through in his off-the-wall, sometimes wacky writing style. This is the first of two posts that go together written recently by Woody]
by Woody Woodcock
Have you ever met a Butcher that, as it turns out, is actually a vegan and was vegan well before they began their job? Me neither until a couple of weekends ago.
That weekend was transformational in so many ways for me. I found myself in a number of conversations with people that started to tell me about themselves and then in mid conversation “what they do” (aka their job) comes up and you’re like…..What? That don’t match up?
I make it a practice never to ask people what they do for a living. My personal approach is to ask people how they spend their time, or what they’re really passionate about. Often they wind up telling you “what they do” anyway, and my real hope is that the answer and what they do match up with their life.
That weekend my girlfriend and I got invited to a gathering of artists — women and men in a charming southern setting. The gathering was called “Porch Lights.” Picture a group of 20-30 year old sexy, stylish, unique, and colorful people all around. Indeed there were soft lit porch lights around this charming gathering in Birmingham, AL.
During the course of the night I met the Butcher who turned out was a vegan, an English Lit professor from the University of Alabama, a hair dresser with very interesting hair, a film production guy, and a guy who left his pliers with the hair dresser the last time he got his haircut. Yeah that sounds odd I know, but it is all part of the fun conversations that took place among this group that gathered together. The list of characters is endless. We sat in blue suede retro recliners on a brick top courtyard in the shade of a great southern home and the glow of the porch lights. There was something in the air. It was a brewing of creativity, new relationships, and a story that had yet to be crafted by a set of strangers.
I took away some valuable lessons from those conversations. Some of which I already knew to be true. In this case it was about the power of a conversation, a story, and creative writing.
Earlier this summer I learned a great lesson by reading Jon Acuff’s new book called “Quitter” Jon shared that “when it comes to writing, 90% imperfect and shared is better than 100% and stuck in your head.” That statement is so true, but for the longest time I had a hard time getting over my imperfection. I’m going be honest and vulnerable with you. I write stuff every week, my mind is filled with ideas. Finally this weekend was a breakthrough. To keep those ideas in my head and not share them is selfish. My writing style ain’t perfect , and I often write like I talk. But who cares. If it helps ignite your mind into action this week, or inspires you to be creative and share your own stories then it was all worth it.
Are you not 100% Socially Excellent yet? That’s o.k., share yourself with others anyway. Engage in conversation, share your stories, turn your porch light on and connect.
See, I want my Phired Up experience to be more than a company. I want it to be a compelling cry, a way of life, and a mindset for those who believe what we believe.
Saying “I’m Phired Up” means you believe you can change the world one conversation and one new relationship at a time. It certainly helps to issue the battle cry aloud or to yourself before you embark on making new friends or engaging in a powerful conversation. Try it out this week. I dare you. Just look in the mirror, or find a friend nearby and holler, “I’m PHIRED UP!” Feels good, doesn’t it?
The movement has started and I’d love to hear your story about how you’re connecting with others. When you choose to affirm that you are Phired Up you choose to help add to the story that is equipping and growing membership organizations and changing the world one person and one conversation at a time. I’d love to hear your story about what happened when you chose to embrace this Phired Up mantra.
Hit me up on #FB or follow me on the Twitter @Woody_Woodcock. Lets choose to #BethePerson who has our Porch Lights on. Keep an eye out for another post from me coming up soon… It might not be perfect, but it is authentically me.