At the Conscious Growth Workshop last weekend, there were some social courage challenges designed to get people out of their comfort zones. One exercise involved going outside the workshop room and saying something silly to a stranger, such as “Can you tell me what year it is?” or “Which planet is this?” The sharing of results after this exercise was hysterical, and it really raised the energy of the room and got people realizing that there’s no good reason to fear approaching people. When you hand your power over to fear of rejection or embarrassment, you miss so many opportunities to connect and have fun.
For those who were already getting pretty good at it, I offered an additional challenge: Meet a stranger and share a hug in less than 5 minutes. One person in the room said he thought he could do it, but only if I dared him. So I said to him, “I not only dare you. I double-dog dare you!” That got a big laugh, and the challenge was set in motion. I heard a lot of fun stories from people sharing hugs with strangers, spreading love around the Las Vegas Strip.
The most impressive piece of feedback I heard was that Daan Buckinx actually met and hugged two people in less than a minute. I was impressed and told him that would be difficult to top, but he did it anyway. He eventually got it down to 15 seconds. How cool is that? Whenever you’re out in public, isn’t it great to know that the nearest hug may be only 15 seconds away?
I told Daan that if he emailed me his story, I’d post it here in the blog, and thankfully he agreed.
So here’s Daan’s story of how he went from zero to hugs in under 60 seconds:
I never used to hug people before I came to this workshop. I did want to however, but I was afraid to do so because of what people might think. You know, the usual. But I set the intention to hug as many people as I could during the workshop.
My first hugs were exchanged at the pre-meetup on Thursday. I knew people would be open to this, so they came almost effortlessly. And hugs were also quite abundant the following days at the workshop itself. I started refusing to shake hands.
But the challenge was to connect with and hug strangers. That seemed more difficult. But I wanted to do it. And then there was an opportunity. Following the silly questions exercise at the workshop, I began to consistently start up conversations with anyone I ended up in elevators with. This went really well and I loved doing it.
Eventually on Monday an elderly couple joins me in my elevator. I ask what they’re up to and they tell me they’re going to see a show, le RÃªve. I tell them I want to see that show too. They ask what I’m up to. I tell them I’m going to a Toastmasters meeting later. They know Toastmasters and tell me that’s nice. Then they ask where I’m from. I tell them it’s Belgium and they seem to have got a connection with that too. They went there to see the bi-annual flower carpet once. By then we’ve exited the elevator and it’s time to go our separate ways. But not before I ask them for a hug! Which they gladly agree to, of course, smiles all around. All in under a minute.
So I told you this story on Monday and you said that would be hard to beat. But it wasn’t.
So on Tuesday I’m in the Imperial Palace, where they have some dealers impersonating celebrities. A friend points out a younger looking female one and asks if I can guess who it is. My friend walks on and I stare for a few moments but I have no clue. When I start moving again, I notice an older woman who seems to be giggling to herself. I feel compelled to ask why, so I do. She tells me that I was staring at that dealer’s knickers! Huh?! I look back and see that, indeed, there’s some underwear exposure I hadn’t noticed. So I tell her that it wasn’t me, but her that was checking out the knickers! The naughty lady! We’re both laughing hard now. I explain the situation and we end up hugging. Total time, around 40-45 seconds.
Does that sound hard to beat? It still wasn’t.
A few hours later, I went to a Chinese restaurant in Harrah’s. We get escorted to our seats by the waiter and while still standing up, I start thanking him for giving us great seats in the (mostly empty) restaurant. I say something like: “Kevin, (I love name tags) you are amazing! Thanks for giving us the best seats in the house! I love you, man! Can I give you a hug?” And what do you know, he’s ok with it! Total time, around 15 seconds!
Maybe that last one doesn’t count, because he’s a waiter and it’s his job to please people. But he still didn’t have to though, as Darby pointed out to me. So I’m not sure. The waiter was definitely smiling afterwards though.
I love speedhugging!
On Wednesday I shared some hugs with another couple at the airport in Washington while waiting for my flight back home. That one took some more time but that’s good, because it allows for a better connection. I even gave a seated hug to a girl sitting next to me on the plane to Belgium. We had been talking for ten minutes and had a great connection going on. She went to Vegas with her husband on their honeymoon. And she’d quit her job after working there for five years to start studying again, because she only had a high school diploma. We ended up exchanging details and she’s going to add me on Facebook now!
I’m going to take things a bit slower now though, because I’m sure I bruised a rib or something by bear hugging Jesse on Monday.
I’m guessing it’s a ‘coincidence’ that some strangers started talking to me in the end or that I started seeing pennies eventually too, right? 😉
I love this new planet! 😀
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Highly conscious people don’t have to buy into the socially conditioned reality. We can create our own reality, one that is a lot more connected and fun!
It will be fun to see if anyone can break Daan’s record at the next Conscious Growth Workshop.
I can now confirm that the dates will be January 15-17, 2010 at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas. I expect to open registration for it next week.