You know when you are going shopping for clothes so you dress in an outfit and shoes that are super easy to take off and put back on?
You feel pajamas and slippers are the best option but because you are going out in public, you have to take it up a notch? Yep.
So on a grey day in September, four years ago, when we were living on the upper west side of NYC, I decided I needed some new clothes.
I was living out of a suitcase at the time and was craving some new threads to replace the well-worn collection I'd been wearing for several months, on rotation.
So mid-afternoon, I grabbed a comfy pair of sweatpants and a loose hoodie, threw on my sneakers and off I rode to the Century 21 store that my friend Victoria - who knows NYC well - recommended to me. (This store sounds like a real-estate company if you're Canadian but it's actually like Winners!)
I didn't have much luck shopping but when I came back out on the street I noticed that a very well-dressed crowd was gathered in front of the Lincoln Center across the street. Being the super curious, novice city-dweller that I was, I darted over immediately to see what was going on, and maybe catch a glimpse of a celebrity!
I leaned against a light post and watched everyone in their gowns and tuxedos go through a security check as they entered the theatre. I figured they were going to the opera. Why else would they be so dressed up?
That's when I heard a woman behind me say, "Do you have plans tonight?"
I turned quickly and saw this young, professional woman, looking right at me. I quickly said, "no, WHY?"
She said she was from an advertising agency and was there to give out tickets to this event to people who had won them in a contest. But one of her winners just sent her a text - they couldn't make it. Then she asked me, "Do you want to go?"
I said "hell yes" and then realized very quickly that I was grossly under dressed and actually had NO IDEA what I just said yes to!
The woman tucked a ticket in my hand and said I needed to hurry - the film started in a few minutes. What film?
It was the world premiere of the movie "Sully". How cool was that? I really wanted to see that movie - this was perfect!
So me, in my sweats, clutching my backpack, among the seemingly rich and famous, scooted through security, marveled quickly at the beautiful foyer of the Lincoln Center and found my seat, right at the back - thankfully! (that saved me a trip down the aisle while dressed like a homeless person)
As I was texting my husband to let him know I was spontaneously going to a movie (and will explain later), four men walked on stage - Tom Hanks, Clint Eastwood, Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and Aaron Eckhart. That's when my texting ended and I started fumbling for the camera setting on my phone. I was gobsmacked.
Was this really happening?
After a quick intro by the actors and hero on stage, the lights went down and the movie played. I'm sure you know the story by now - pilot Captain Sully heroically prevents disaster by landing his plane on the Hudson river in NYC.
But what I wasn't prepared for was the reaction of the audience in that part of the movie when Sully (Tom Hanks) lands the plane safely on the river.
The entire audience completely lost it! Cheering, clapping, feet stomping, hooting. It lasted well into the next scene. I've never experienced anything like that roar. It was an overwhelming couple of minutes.
It wasn't until after the lights went up and we were standing out on the sidewalk in front of the theatre, watching the audience file out of the foyer, that I found out why there was such an over-the-top reaction to the plane-landing scene.
The special-invitation audience was made up of not only the actors and crew from the movie but it included all the people who were ON THAT PLANE back in 2009 when Captain Sully safely landed on the Hudson. Oh wow.
It all made sense after that. And what a way to experience that movie - with the people who lived through that gut-wrenching landing and rescue first-hand. It was the experience of a lifetime for me.
That whole evening - having the spur-of-the-moment opportunity to attend an invitation-only premier in NYC - happened because I left the comfort of my home and chose to explore and be curious. It seemed that every day I went out and about in the city, I'd experience something new, see something interesting, talk to someone with a story, capture some cool pictures, see a celebrity.
And that got me thinking. Are you being curious and adventurous in your business life? Are you open to surprises? Are you getting out there? Meeting new people, fellow small business people, getting involved in projects and activities where you make connections and get new ideas? Are you open to those possibilities?
I know the last few months, with Covid19 restrictions, it has been harder to find opportunities to connect with new people and explore new things. But when you can get back to it, or find ways to translate that curiosity online, it really is the path to experiencing cool new things and having once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
That curious and adventurous spirit will lead to better business experiences, more interesting connections and a fantastic way to build and grow your business.
The Small Business Guide
Kim Houlahan is a marketing consultant who loves helping small business owners improve their marketing.
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