For those of you who know me well, you know that I love to get to know people and their stories. You can learn so much just by listening to others. However, sometimes just listening isn’t enough…make sure you take the time to really get to know them. And this starts by learning their name.
For almost a year now, I’ve been going to a gym near my work (Next Level Fitness) primarily to shower after getting my runs done outside since I commute almost an hour to work. Typically, I end up in the locker room about the same time every day and I end up crossing paths with the same group of guys. After a little while, you get comfortable enough to make small talk. Soon you find that you know a little bit about each other and learn a little about what brings them to the gym each day.
I was telling my running partner about these guys and the different things they were involved in. And then it hit me…I didn’t even know their first names!!! I had talked to them nearly every day for almost a year and I wouldn’t even know how to holler at them across the parking lot if I wanted to get their attention. I was challenged right then to learn their names because the longer it went on the more awkward it would be to ask.
So, this week, I made it a point to officially introduce myself to Kevin, Gary, and Mike. Kevin is training to possibly run the Pittsburgh half marathon in May (which I’ve run twice) with his college-age daughter, while Gary and Mike come in every day to work on different levels of fitness to meet their goals. Our conversations this week have been even better since I took the time to throw potential social awkwardness aside and just simply ask them their names while telling them mine.
And what is cool is that these guys have helped me a lot with my training this week. I’m running my ninth marathon on Sunday – Last Chance for Boston in Dublin, Ohio. So that means that I’ve really cut back my miles and my pace. All three of these guys know that and they’ve helped hold me accountable by reminding me of that. And to top it all off today, Gary ran a mile next to me on the treadmill on his non-running day to make sure I went slow and then Kevin added three miles next to me as part of his training. And they will all three be cheering for me this weekend and looking forward to hearing all about the race on Monday when we get back to the daily routine.
It’s amazing how much power there is in just taking the time to learn someone’s name! Who do you encounter every day that you need to meet again for the first time?