Julian Weisser introduced me to a phrase I fell in love with this week: “putting people in play.”
Over my career, I’ve repeatedly felt like a threadbare piece of discount clothing, not much good in the first place, stretched thin, and useful to nobody. Growing up, it felt like so many of the adults I knew had sold their souls for rafts of stability. Being an optimist, believing there’s big, bold, and beautiful opportunities in life, turned me into this angry sort of Holden Caulfield who just thought everyone else kind of sucked. It’s hard to look back on the person I was, clawing for an opportunity to find some depth to life.
And then one day I met a fellow named Luke Barbara. Over a couple years, Luke was my Yoda. I’m not sure what he saw, but somehow he managed to pull the positivity out. When the first business I tried to start went under, he got me my first internship at a technology company. Luke put me in play.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to prefer working with people with a lot of experience, but my conversation with Julian this week made me see how preference is causing me to miss out on the opportunity to work with incredible people who just need someone to put them into play. If you feel like you just need someone to see you or put you into play, email me (I’m firstname.lastname@example.org). And if you’ve met someone recently who has that undefinable but obvious spark, consider putting them in play. It will mean the world to them—and to you.