One of my friends analyzed me recently and told me that she realized that I curate my entire life. The idea of "curation" has recently become a ubiquitous word in my life. Curation can be used for building a member's only community, for hosting an event tailored to a certain demographic, or for choosing who comes to your birthday party. As much as the people that are curated is important, I think that it is the person that is curating that is even more crucial to this very delicate formula.
While I have a few talents that I am exceptionally good at (for example, I am the best at tongue-twisters and am really good at analogies), I would say my biggest strength is being a connector. A connector is not someone that puts you on 80 emails with people you don't know, expecting you to drop everything you are doing during the day to answer. A connector is someone that asks the right questions to help you find what you are looking for, listens to your stories, sees the person that is under all of that work lingo and then connects you to create mutually beneficial relationships (in work and in life) for both parties involved. This is an interesting skill to have in this world taken over by technology, because while Klout is really good at curating parties based on how influential you are in talking about dragons or potato chips, and Facebook tells you that you should know a person because you two have 250 mutual friends in common -- none of which live in your home state -- a expert connector who authentically knows you will create relationships that have meaning and can help facilitate those relationships better than the basic platforms available out there.
My passion is to create relationships that provide people with their "aha" moments. I will notice something in someone that can be brought out in a bigger way through knowing someone else, and I literally thrive on the adrenaline of creating this chemistry. Since I was in seventh grade, I would sit talking on the phone for eight hours a night to anyone that would talk to me, and I have built a career on connecting individuals to each other, to events, to charities, to people, to places that I think would match their personalities. This is dangerous, because for a long time, I focused so much on everyone else's dreams that I forgot about my own.
Being a good connector sometimes limits you from seeing what you want for yourself. I am very lucky, however, to have a lot of people in my life that help support me and make my dreams come true; and one person that is always guiding me in the right direction always tells me, "A man that stands for everything stands for nothing." I always take what he says very seriously, so I really started to analyze how this plays a part in my life, and over the past year I have realized that it's important to align yourself with people and situations that support your visions, dreams and values, and vice versa, and to prioritize where your energy is being expended and to whom. You don't want anyone in your life that treats you like an option while you are treating that individual like a priority.
I once heard a great quote that the five people you spend the most time with in your life represent you best. While you can choose who you date and who you chat with on Gchat all day, most people spend the most time with the people they work with. I have literally had friends leave their jobs, never to look back, refusing to even speak to their coworkers again, recognizing that the people they were spending 10 hours a day with were reflecting badly on them. I have another story however. I have been with Paige Management since four days after I graduated, for the past three years. Since I like to write about what I know and the people that I love, this week I want to write about the importance of surrounding yourself with people you love, in every aspect of your life, including work.
As we all know, New York City is expensive and requires most people to work, and work very hard. People literally leave school and come directly to New York City to build their resumes. It is extremely daunting to leave school and jump into a world of no curation and excess information. New York City can be the most beautiful, fabulous home, or it can be a treacherous, lonely place, depending on your individual experience.
I was lucky enough to have met my boss Matt Shendell directly after I graduated. Matt has been doing what he loves with people that he respects since he was 16 years old. He has stayed true to himself, his passions, his friends and his family. He dedicates his life to work, and his drive is infectious. He loves his employees and supports them to be the best version of themselves, as well as always being a shining example for me, and allows his employees to entrepreneurially go after what they love to help shape his company that he has worked so hard to build. I am bragging about my boss (because it is his birthday this weekend and I did want to dedicate this article to him), but more so because Matt is like family to me, and you don't usually associate work with "family." Yet, why shouldn't you? You are entitled to curate every aspect of your own life. If you don't, who are you trusting to curate it for you? You are entitled to that choice.
You can choose to walk away from people that hurt you, that bring you down, that feed off of you; you are allowed to dictate how you want people to play a part in your life, and in what way. I have learned from Matt that doing what you love and going after what you believe in allows you to attract like-minded people that are going after the same thing, and that is what allows for a natural curation. I am now in a place where I know how much I love the people I have curated for my life and as the days go by, I find more and more people that I love to be around, collaborate with and support. This skill of being able to curate and connect is important, but for the first time in my life I am realizing that there is a bigger skill that needs to be mastered and that is being connected to and loving yourself. Knowing your path and going after what you believe in will naturally create serendipity around the right people that will support you, love you and help you grow; and if you continue to shape your life based on what you love, I believe everything else will just fall into place.
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