We are all each other’s emergency contact. We just don’t know it yet.
This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.
Something I’ve changed my mind about — the older I’ve become — is the idea that we’re all on our own. I used to think that my business, my entrepreneurship, my emotional ups and downs were all meant for me to deal with in isolation.
I used to be of the misguided opinion that it was a sign of weakness if I wasn’t able to handle everything. If I wasn’t able to function at 100% without the influence, assistance or companionship of the rest of the world.
I don’t believe that’s the case. Not now. Over the past few years, I’ve had some experiences that have shown me the truth in that.
One of the worst nights of my life was spent drinking alone in a bar in Sydney.
Outside it was pouring with rain, and inside I was focused on the complete failure of a business that I had given everything to.
A young woman came up to me, sat down and asked what was wrong. I think I was so taken aback by it that I just opened up, honestly and vulnerably, without hesitation.
We must have talked for about an hour, about my business and hers — as it turns out, she was a pretty successful design agency founder herself — and we forged a connection I’ve never forgotten.
She pulled me out of my low point, as a total stranger. To this day, I haven’t forgotten the debt that I owe her, and I haven’t lost touch with her. She was my emergency contact, and I didn’t even realise it until she came out of nowhere to help me.
To hold out her hand and tell me to get up.
I think we have to be open to having experiences like that, and to giving experiences like that. Since I founded my blog and turned it into the business it is today, I’ve been amazed at the chances that have been given to me to do the same thing for others as they’ve done for me.
Just yesterday, I got a call on my Skype from an 18 year old from England.
She’s been feeling lost and unsure and she knows that she wants to break out of her current situation, shake the foundations and create work that she’ll be proud of.
We must have talked for at least an hour, about what it means to be 18 and how hard it can be, wanting to take your place in the world but not knowing what that place is, or if there’s a vacancy for whatever it turns out to be.
It was the highlight of my week. Because I was able to connect with someone who needed it, at the moment that they needed it.
We’re all each other’s emergency contact, we’re just waiting for the right time.
Jon Westenberg is a marketing executive, creative director and writer. You can find out more here: www.jonwestenberg.com