Last week, I had to fly from Jacksonville to St. Louis for a speaking engagement. As I boarded early in the morning, I realized that I had been assigned the middle seat. The woman in the window seat appeared to be having a very bad day. As I struggled to cram my belongings under my seat and dig the seat belt out from the cushions, I gave her a small smile and said, “Good morning.” She looked at me with a bit of sadness, and I could see that she was on the verge of tears. I asked, “Are you okay?” She shook her head. “I thought my flight was at 8 o'clock this morning,” she said, “but it was actually at 8 o'clock tonight. So I've been trying to rearrange my flights, and I’m just having a really bad day.”
Her name was Maya, and I listened as she told me story after story of how life kept beating her down. She had lost her job recently. She was having problems with her relationships and was searching for purpose in her life. She really wanted to start a business, she told me, but lacked a vision for how to do it.
When she said those words, I felt that God had put me in that middle seat that morning specifically to meet Maya and encourage her.
I said, “You're not going to believe this, but I am in the Bold Vision business.” I told her that I was on my way to a speaking engagement in St. Louis and that I had just written a book that helps people gain clarity in their lives and direction in their careers. Her eyes widened as I pulled a copy of my book out of my bag and handed it to her as a gift. She said, “Really? I can't believe my luck! This is turning out to be the best day ever!”
For the next few minutes, I encouraged Maya by telling her how she can use her challenges to help others. She could take her life lessons learned the hard way and use them to serve others and give back to her community. I know, because that’s exactly what I had done. Her tears dried up as we gave each other a hug.
She smiled as she thumbed through the book. She was so happy that her day had turned around, she said, and that I ended up sitting next to her. Maya and I had a great connection that morning. I was able to be a source of encouragement for her, offering not just my friendship but also my expertise and the purpose that I find as a speaker, author and business coach. What started out as a terrible day turned into a new connection and a renewed sense of direction for Maya.
Personally, I had the realization that connecting with our audience isn’t about us. It’s about them – showing up, being real, and caring about them as people. We have to see our social media followers, Facebook fans, and email list subscribers as real people with real problems. It’s our job to be their light. When you can use your experience and expertise to truly make a difference, that is how you connect with your audience and get your message heard.
About Jen DeVore Richter
Jen DeVore Richter cures the identity crisis many women have in business working with them to claim their stage and transform into a purpose filled leader in life and career.
Jen is an author, speaker, influencer, and authority marketing agency owner. Her creative approach to business has culminated in a co-authored book, Amplify Your Business: The Rockstar Professional’s Guide to Marketing Success.
Her podcast Purpose Filled Business is now available on iTunes.
Jen is on a personal mission to encourage women in business to reinvent their lives, reenergize their businesses & reconnect to their purpose.