I first met Ben online (groaaaaan), on a Website That Will Not Be Named commonly used for folks curious about meeting and hanging out with and potentially dating folks who appear, over the interwebz, remotely interesting or attractive. Ben turned out to be both interesting AND attractive, in addition to a whole slew of other things that kept a strongly forged friendship growing. Our relationship has shape-shifted in many diverse ways, over the past three years, but it’s one that currently fills me with a whole lot of laughter, good conversation, and inspiration.
I feel an incredible curiosity from Ben. He is genuinely fascinated by the world around him; ready to analyze people, communities, cultures, and businesses. His inquisition not only incorporates a high level of intellectual prowess, but also a healthy dose of grounded, heart-centered analysis and understanding. I don’t know if Ben would list “intuitive” on a short list of self-descriptors, but I certainly see him demonstrate a deep intuitive sense in his interactions with others — not to mention, the way he makes his big life choices. I have teased Ben with the adage “I’ll believe it when I see it” in reference to a variety of different things he’s announced: big cross-country (or cross-globe!) trips, moves from one apartment (or city!) to another, significant career shifts. Perhaps it’s a blessing and a curse that he’s able to make quick & dramatic decisions that, say, alter pretty much all of his life circumstances; from my vantage point, I find it indicative of Ben’s ability to embrace impermanence. To embrace This Here Moment, and all opportunities the present presents him with.
One of Ben’s greatest gifts is his ability to listen. Guys, he really listens. I see this stemming from the fact that he really cares, too. He listens to his friends: learns about what they like and dislike, what turns them on and turns them off, what they believe and what’s important to them, what they think about a whole slew of issues and ideas. He listens to his community: what works for them and what doesn’t, what makes them happy and excited and sad and disgruntled, what they need most and what needs to be collectively discarded. I can only imagine how he listens similarly in his work settings: carefully gauging the climate of potential clients and the folks around him, allowing him to achieve insight and clarity about the direction to lead his team. He’s above to do this all with a friendliness that is welcoming, warm, and sincere.
Ben’s been through some shit. Most recently, he suffered serious injuries from an accident this summer that kept him essentially bedridden for a couple months. What impresses me most is his demonstrable ability to use this experience as a focal point for growth; a turning point in redefining who he was, who he is, and who he wants to be. His commitment to living a checked-in, intentional life inspires me. Thanks, Ben, for you! Please choose a cause for me to donate a few Jacksons to, on your behalf.