Unexpected ConnectionsMost of our interactions with people throughout the day are merely casual exchanges. We expect little to learn or grow from these moments. However, unexpected connections can sometimes have a big impact.

In my journey to be a better human, I once dismissed these encounters. Yet, several stayed with me for years. As I transformed from someone obsessed with the macro to being in tune with the micro, unexpected connections were a jump start to reacting and responding in different ways. These stories are part of my book The In-Between: Life in the Micro.

The macro represents the milestones and goals we reach. The micro is everything else, a road map of interactions, connections, and experiences.

Unexpected Connections and Why They Matter

Unexpected connections lead to unexpected micro-moments. They matter because they open us up to experiences we would have previously shut down. They also allow us to enjoy the conversation.

One such connection was a simple discussion about migrating butterflies. It seemed like a far-fetched story. Before, I would have rolled my eyes and ignored the conversation. I didn’t this time, and the exchange was lighthearted.

Another example was the connection I made with fellow travelers at my “home” airport club in St. Louis. I was wearing an Ironman shirt, and a woman asked me about it. Instead of that being the end of the exchange, I sat and talked with her and her partner. We actually became friends, seeing each other often at the club.

This was exposure to someone else living in the in-between. She saw something interesting about me and my shirt and translated this awareness into a micro-moment by asking me a question.

It was a big aha moment for me years later when I reflected on this connection. The awareness of others meant a lot to me. So, I began to realize something was missing in my own life because I wouldn’t make the same gesture.

Making My Own Unexpected Connections

After realizing I wasn’t giving the in-between much of a chance, I reflected and began to change. It allowed me to be the one who unexpectedly connected.

It was during an Ironman race. My previous mindset in these races was all about finishing. I encountered a woman who was struggling. Instead of running off again, I stayed with her, and we talked the whole time. We completed Ironman together, supporting each other to the finish line.

I’d never done this before in any previous Ironman races. I was able to use my own awareness to stay in the micro and help others versus being single-minded.

Now, I’ve been able to create those moments in everyday life. I don’t always live in the in-between. I’m a work in progress, as everyone is. However, now I know there is much value and reward in the micro. I take the time to permit connections, and it’s made me a happier and more present person.

If you’d like to know more about my story, read my book for more insights and guidance.