Yesterday I had a powerful, and emotional experience that came as a result of making a connection, and it got me thinking. Then today, I received a LinkedIn message from someone who I had helped out with a free resource back in 2011.She couldn’t remember how she knew me, but my name and what the fact that I specialise in career coaching had stuck with her. And now she has an opportunity for me. That’s the power of connection when you give of yourself unconditionally.
Anyway, back to yesterday, when I gave a talk to the supporters of The St John Of Jerusalem Eye Hospital. The hospital and its outposts offer eye-related health services in Palestine. Their patients are of all races and all religions. Blindness is a real issue in those parts, and their services are world class, yet hardly anyone outside Palestine has ever heard of them.
I’d been asked to talk to them because my mother had left them a legacy. She led a fairly extraordinary life in her 20s and 30s, including a spell working as theatre sister at the hospital in Jerusalem when it was a major conflict zone. She left because they had to close the place temporarily in 1948 when things became too dangerous.
I’d got the talk planned out – the real challenge was to compress things into 10 minutes – but when I walked into the hall where I was going to be giving the talk, everything changed. Around the walls are portraits of the great and the good associated with Order of St John. Each and every one wore a large Cross of St. John – the same cross as my mother wore in the old photos of her; the same cross as was on the medal they gave her for her (medical) services to the Order.
And I remembered that we’d often talked about going to St John’s Gate (the London headquarters), but we’d never made it together. Now I was standing there in St John’s Gate without her, talking about her life, because she had died and left them some money.
That changed my talk, I can tell you! All I could do was speak from the heart, and who knows what I said, but it made a connection with many of the people there, some of whom wanted to stay in touch. It was a far better talk than the one I had planned!
The funny thing is that it nearly didn’t happen. I knew two years ago that the St John’s Eye Hospital wanted to get in touch to thank me for my mother’s legacy, but I really couldn’t be bothered. Recently they contacted Mum’s lawyer again, so reluctantly I got in touch. And yesterday I met some extraordinary people, doing life-changing work in a very difficult place, and was able to celebrate my mother’s life with them.
It’s so easy to miss these chance connections, to ignore the opportunities, but it’s amazing how powerful and even life-changing the most unlikely contacts can be.
What unlikely requests for contact have you responded to unconditionally which have then proved worthwhile – whether in terms of happiness or success or wonderfully unexpected consequences? Feel free to comment in the box.
If you want to know more about what The St John Of Jerusalem Eye Hospital does, here’s the link.