Today an old friend who just had a new baby asked me for the name of a good, affordable lawyer to draw up his will. It just so happens I had someone to recommend, a lawyer named Joanne Sternlieb with a private practice that I used, with great satisfaction, when my first child was born.
I’m pretty sure Joanne has forgotten about me – I was just one of many clients, many years ago – and she’s probably not aware how happy I was with her work. Yet she did such a good job and provided such a good value that when someone asked me, six years later, for a recommendation, I passed her name along instantly.
Joanne threw a boomerang. She provided a service and an exceptional experience that came back to her – even though in this case it took many years. If she’s throwing lots of boomerangs every day, then over time the enterprise builds: sometimes in obvious, linear ways (two weeks after working with one client she gets hired by that client’s friend), but just as often (I’d guess) less predictably.
The unexpected connections come when there are lots of people out in the world who, in the back of their minds, carry around a memory of you as the most exceptional person they’ve met doing what you do.
It’s easy, when you’re busy, to switch off when a given meeting or opportunity shows no sign of panning out in the short term; to think of interactions in terms of what can come clearly, linearly, right now. Of course that matters. But life is also about randomness and spontaneous, surprising connections, and about the things you put out in the world coming back in unexpected, positive ways.
By being your best self in all situations, by being generous and making every interaction positive and productive for the person you’re meeting, you’re throwing boomerangs.
So, did you throw any boomerangs today?