I’ve always known it was a small world. I love playing the six degrees of separation game as I’ve met Kevin Bacon I live on an island with eight million people living on top of each other and yet still run into people I know regularly out of the blue in the most random of places. I find out another regular at my local bar in New York City knows all of the same music people as I grew up with in the Philadelphia area because he played in the bands and on their records. I walk through the Chicago airport and someone screams my name and it’s a random Clemson Tiger that I don’t remember but remembers me. It’s a small world and I very much pride myself on my networking skills and my matchmaking skills. If I don’t know someone who meets certain criteria, I know someone who does. And I love matchmaking people who I think should know each other for whatever reason: similar interests, business opportunities, etc.
Yet it gets smaller. When I started to planning this whole Kilimanjaro trip, I knew I wanted to use an in country tour company and not a foreign one for a multitude of reasons. It seemed only natural to ask a former coworker from my prior time in Tanzania for a recommendation. He referred me to a friend of his, Edward, with Pristine Trails. I will write a more glowing recommendation of them in an upcoming post because they were beyond exceptional and I couldn’t be happier with how the hike turned out sans actually getting to summit vs. hypoxia. But I digress.
As it turns out, Edward’s mother also worked for the same organization Peter and I worked together at, Cross Cultural Solutions, but at the Moshi site while we were based in the then new Bagamoyo site. Then it gets even smaller. Kim, Edward’s wife, went to grad school at Columbia in NYC in the Masters version of my very same Certificate program. We overlapped for a semester but did not know each other. Not only were we in the same school and program; they lived together less than 20 blocks from my own house in Manhattan. She is now working on and expanding programs and activities that I worked on more than a decade ago. I had no idea that they were still even active let alone grown so large.
So on the other side of the world, I find the circle is still so small. I tell you this as an anecdote of “wow, what are the odds,” but also as a warning. It’s a small world and how you treat and build your network is incredibly important. Make the impression you want to last over the decades. The most significant part of this particular story is that there is no social media connections or influence involved. Imagine how much larger that circle is when you toss in the social media aspect.
People remember you and at some point in the near future or decades down the line may be the one who is charged with keeping you alive (in this case literally) or who knows what other significant roles.