The Measure of Human Connection

What is the measure of success?  How do you measure a human interaction and what it might mean beyond the single moment of connection?  There are many ways to look at the four days I spent with my daughter Sarah in San Antonio.

I was there for a school counselor conference and had high hopes of selling two suitcases worth of products.  I wanted to make It worth the effort of hauling them to Texas. 

If I measure the days by sales only, one might call attending the conference a poor decision. The cost of the booth, airfare, hotel, and food takes up a lot of the profits when doing a show. What might have been a success at home is measured differently when the costs are higher. 


But the truth is, I never went into this business to focus only on making money.  That is not the kind of person I am, and it doesn’t align with my values.  I always put people and human connection above profits. 


Sarah and I hung out on Saturday. We got to see the San Antonio stock show parade with Texas longhorns, beautiful Mexican dancers with their colorful skirts, young riders proudly showing off their horses, the adorable miniature horses, and wagons, etc. We toured the Alamo, visited a small artist community, enjoyed the riverwalk and talked over drinks at a local distillery. Sarah showed me how easy it is to order food from Whole Foods and have it delivered to the hotel. She was great when I apologized for extra bathroom trips and slow decision making around what food to eat. She reminded me that I have nothing to apologize for, and that I can choose to say, “Thank you for your patience.”  I loved having her support, letting her teach me self-kindness with encouraging words. 

With Sarah’s help, it took very little time to set up my table with limited products. She willingly sat through three long days, proudly sharing with people that all the art was created by her mom!  We loved getting love from the therapy dog Shiloh across from our booth.


In the down times, which there happened to be a lot of, I talked with vendors about how so much of a conference is out of our hands, such as schedules and exhibitor time, placement of the exhibit hall to the rest of the conference, foot traffic, etc.  Many vendors were happy to share that their best conferences are national and not state conferences because there is always more money involved in planning, and a larger slice of the population.  I have ideas for future conferences to check out. 

As always, I loved sharing my products with people and seeing their excitement as I talk about how they may best use them.  One woman really pulled at my heart. 


B came to my booth on Monday at the end of the day.  She briefly looked at the sign that said self-care and said, “I really need that, but I never do anything about it.”  That opened the door to learn more.  She told Sarah and I the story of growing up in the migrant fields, literally just days old when her mother would pull her around the field in a little trunk to keep her safe.  At 17, she had her own daughter and was working in the fields until at 19, she saw a sign for an accounting job earning minimum wage. She had done well in high school in accounting classes and was able to land the job. That started her further education, where she earned a teaching license, a counseling degree and she also became a real estate broker.  She never stopped moving because there was so much to do.   In fact, she had spent time in the hospital three times over the past year for heart issues.  She has high blood pressure and diabetes.  She kept saying one day, she would stop and take time for herself.  I gently reminded her that if she didn’t slow down now, there might not be a one day.


I shared with B my mindfulness deck, and suggested how she could use it. “You are worthy of your own time, and your own healing,” I said.  She left my booth with the deck in her hands.


The next morning, B came back with a friend of hers.  She was excited to introduce her to the two women who were so helpful, who had listened to her story with compassion.  Her friend was moved when we talked about the power of story, and the importance of healing from the past.  Sometimes, we must be brave enough to let go of the story that got us to where we are because it no longer serves us.



B asked if we could take pictures, and she wants to stay in contact.  I pulled a card from my Sparks deck and gave it to her.  She got teary and I gave her a big hug.



Sparks Card- One Day, Day One, you choose.


How do I measure the value of human connection?  How do I put a price tag on someone’s story?  All I know is we were both changed by the experience.  She might have only needed someone to listen to her story- someone to tell her it was ok to let it go- that she doesn’t have to live that story anymore. Maybe she needed someone to remind her that if she took care of herself today, she would be around to help a lot more students in the future. 

In that moment, I was reminded of something I already know.  My success isn’t just measured in profits. My intuition doesn’t tell me why I need to go to a conference. It just says go. I don’t always know what experience I will have, but I do know that I learn from everything I do.  There are no mistakes- there is only the chance to be better prepared in the future.  That doesn’t take away from the intangible success of my business. 

There is a kindness card to be given, laughter to be sowed, stories to be listened to, and self-compassion to be shared.  There are hugs, and my gentle voice that says, “It’s ok.  You are ok. You are enough.”

I have no idea which one of these seeds I plant will bloom at some future date. I have no idea how that bloom will then create more seeds of kindness and compassion in the world. 

I just know it matters. 


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