When I was a student at the University of Western Ontario I spent a couple of summers taking French Immersion Courses in Trois-Pistoles Quebec That’s a long way from the OC but it would come back to the OC.
The Canadian Government wanted everybody to be bilingual so they paid for most of the cost. As a starving student how could I say no? I went the first year and had a great time. I learned that mostly girls learned French so I went back for a second year.
Now when I speak French I pretty much say things like thank you very large but overall my French knowledge has served me well.
A few years ago I went to a networking meeting at APAOC. I remember it because I won the speed networking contest. I met somebody who was Canadian and from Quebec. That led to many people saying “Wow what a coincidence”. I have heard that many times over my networking life. I don’t consider it a coincidence. I believe that coincidences align your networking journey and that you can create coincidences. I do it all the time.
In a past life I used to have a place in the Laurentians an hour North of Montreal. I didn’t have the place in my life for long but I went their often even though I lived on the other side of the country. Nearby was a famous Ashram that was founded 50 years ago. I didn’t know much about yoga when I had the place but when I left I took my first yoga lesson there. The instructor started the session by repeatedly repeating “Quiet the Mind. Quiet the Mind”. That mantra has served me well in the New Normal. It became an anecdote to worry and I have seen plenty of worry in the new Normal.
When I met my friend at APAOC for some reason the Ashram came up. She shared with me that her parents had helped build the Ashram. She shared her own personal story that there was the large pool that she and her little sister would play around and squish ants till Swami Vishnuvenanda squatted down one day and told them that ants are living creatures to and have a right to live equally as all living creatures do. She hasn’t been able to kill any bugs since then.
I don’t practice yoga much anymore but I still feel its alignment. I still network every day. I have learned that coincidences don’t happen if you aren’t there. That life is more important than watching reality TV.
Around the same time that I met my friend I attended another networking event. The VP of Marketing for an automobile company was speaking in the OC. She was born in Minneapolis but her family was from Quebec. They lived in a town about 15 km from my place in Quebec. Soon she became the first woman President of a car manufacturer in the States. I went up to her after her presentation and said hello. I used my poor French. I told her I liked her presentation very large. We connected and became friends.
A year or so later I gave a presentation on networking to a number of the company’s dealers in Cabo San Lucas. They flew me down and paid me. That didn’t come from winning the networking contest. It came from going up and talking to somebody that I didn’t know and introducing myself or did it?
I recently helped a Global company in OC find a customer service rep in Quebec. I found one but they declined the job. I found another one and they accepted and I got paid for my efforts. They weren’t on LinkedIn and hardly spoke English. I hardly speak French but we found some bonds. Hockey is a good place to start.
Recently they had a great rail tragedy in Quebec in Lac-Megantic . It is a small town of around 5900. Fifty people are missing or deceased, The story was covered on NRP and I read about it in the OC Register where I live. The accident happened at 2 in the morning near the town taverne which was full. If I lived there I would have been there as well as I often was when I was learning French in Trois-Pistoles. I hope that many of the people were living Leonard Cohen’s song Closing Time. Maybe I am networking with them now.
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