I was a puppy in the real estate game when I met Jean. It was 2010 and I was motivated to lay the foundation for my life. Jean, meanwhile, was already a seasoned pro.
"You're really going to like this house. And you know what? If you don't look at this house today it's going to be gone," she'd declare to a client.
They were simple words, but she said them in a way that made your emotions stand straight up.
She was, and still is, a great salesperson.
But she never took herself too seriously. In fact, she didn't even like real estate. It just so happened that her skill set aligned with the qualities of a good Realtor. This made her a relatable mentor and a cool friend.
Well, last Monday, on the eve of the midterm elections, my cool friend texted me. "We're going to stand outside a polling station and hug people to remind them we're united as Americans."
"I'm in. Let's do it."
The next morning, Jean's relaxed, but enthusiastic energy set the tone as we asked everyone who walked by if they wanted a hug.
I watched all kinds of people pause their hurried lives for a warm embrace. I'd say we hugged 80% of the people we asked.
Some hugged us out of politeness, some saw a hug as a nice gesture, and some really needed a hug.
It worked because Jean was being authentic.
A few years back, she left real estate to start a meditation business, only to re-enter real estate sometime later. Meditation for her made sense. She can talk anyone into anything, so why not talk them into relaxation?! But I've always wondered if she pursued meditation to escape real estate.
On this particular day—hugging people outside of a voting location—her actions weren't coming from a place of wanting to escape anything. She was fully present. Her attempts to unite people were genuine. A layer of who she had to be had been peeled away. She was being...Jean.
I hadn't met up with her in a couple of months and I knew she'd been through a number of life-changing events. But I didn't want to ask.
Instead, I said, "Jean, we should do this again."
"Yep," she calmly replied between hugs. "It'd be great to give people hugs before they went to work."
The success of this great idea unfolded in an effortless manner. There was no talk about how it could make money or who we could sell it to. All that flowed was how emotionally rich it could be for others.
As the event concluded, something below the surface of my mind begged for light.
As adults, we try something new because we're miserable at our jobs. It doesn't work. We move on. We go back to life.
But then, if we don't become cynical, we get inspired to do something else just because. So we do it. And it feels good. Then we do it again. And it grows. Then it forms into something. Then, boom, before you know it, we're where we originally wanted to be. But this time, we're like, "Oh yeah, this is what I wanted before, but now I'm just happy to be doing it."
It's almost as if we shed any motives other than the love of doing the thing.
It's almost as if we grow into the person who can do the thing because we believe in it.
It's almost as if we get everything we originally wanted after we surrender any expectations of a certain outcome.
It's almost as if this is the process. The process of aligning our intentions with what the world needs.
It's almost as if all we have to do is follow the universe.
Keep hugging people, Jean. You're inspiring us all.