“A person’s world is only as big as their heart.” ~Tanya A. Moore
I had a great boss. He was a creative spirit, just like me. He gave me total autonomy and creative license, and honestly, I did the best work of my career under his leadership.
I can remember coming to him with outlandish ideas—never-been-done-before ideas—and he would listen, and then we’d spend hours brainstorming on how to bring them to life. When we brought them to life, we always shared in their success.
We had a special relationship, and I felt like we could talk about anything.
And then all of a sudden we stopped talking.
The business climate changed dramatically. We were in the midst of a severe economic recession. Our industry was hit very hard. We had no time to talk.
The recession was a metaphor for all the relationships in my life. Lack, anxiety and shortfalls, disengagement.
There was no time for questions, no room for ideas. It was too painful to go deep. There was just enough time and energy to stay afloat on the surface.
I never even realized I closed off my heart. And then something awakened me to this reality.
I was on a business trip in the mountains of Utah during early summer.
My then estranged boss and I had a full day of meetings, and our two hosts invited us to take a ride on the chairlift before dinner. Somehow, our two hosts got pulled away to another meeting, so it was just the two of us—me and my boss—for the chairlift ride.
There we were, two people on a four-person lift sitting as far apart as possible, in total silence, looking out into the distance.
It was a beautiful evening, and there were many young couples snuggled in warm blankets, riding the chairlifts opposite us.
They began to heckle me. “Why don’t you sit closer. He won’t bite you!” “Why are you sitting so far apart?”
After about the fourth heckle, I angrily yelled at the young guy who was telling me to sit closer, “He’s my boss, okay. Leave me alone!”
After that outburst, my boss and I looked at each other, and we burst into laughter.
And then a magical thing happened. There, at 7,000 feet in the air, with our feet dangling, no emergency exit, only the snowcapped mountains and a nearby waterfall, we began to talk.
The conversation flowed about our kids, our dreams, our work, our passions—just about everything.
I felt a tremendous healing that night, as I reflected on how much I missed his friendship, and how easily I had closed off my heart.
The interesting thing was, I instantly became aware that I had closed off my heart in all my relationships.
When stress and hardship hit, it’s easier to avoid pain that way.
With our business colleagues, we don’t engage in conversation, we just do our jobs. With our children, we tell them they should just listen and stop resisting. With our significant others, we become too tired to make time for connection.
And the worst part is that we make decisions to avoid pain, or take the path of least resistance.
When we close our hearts, we forget that this one, single beautiful moment is all we truly have right now.
What would happen if tomorrow, we started to give our hearts at the office and at home?
Maybe our world would expand.
Photo by Lel4nd