A lane of connections…

My friend Carl recently reached out on social media to let me know his dad had given him a piece of wood from the bowling center my parents operated as proprietors for almost 30 years before it was destroyed in a fire. He shared that he hadn’t done anything with it since his dad gave it to him and wanted to know if I would like to have it. I immediately said yes and he sent it to me… For some, it may not seem like that big of a deal, but for me, it was a piece of my history.

You see, I grew up in the bowling center we called “Tri-City Lanes” starting at the age of 10… My dad and mom has purchased the 12 lane bowling center and moved our family across the state to begin their journey together as bowling proprietors in the small town of Seminole Oklahoma. I enjoyed so many memories from learning to bowl, to my first job, to learning how to serve customers at front desk, to cooking for customers in our snack bar (best hamburgers in town), to working in bowling lane machines as a mechanic. I bowled youth league with friends, sold school candy bars and gathered donations from the league bowlers that became our friends.

So, here’s the story about this picture…

Carl’s dad was named Bill (Dodgen) and was one of the most respected and friendliest guys in the center. He was special always looking out for the league bowlers. He was kind and made everyone laugh. But here’s what’s even more special. Each year, we were required to have our lanes “sanctioned” for leagues to make sure when someone bowled an honor score, such as a perfect 300 game, it would be approved for certification and the bowler would receive an award. Sanctioning the lanes was a full day process that happened once a year. Bill and other members of the Seminole bowling association including Harvey Cornelison, and R.L. Cross. I also remember seeing Bill Houck, Charlie Padgett, Jerry Poff, Ed Hardin, Will Conner, and others there too. They would schedule a date to meet early on Saturday morning and my dad would open the center to let them in. They showed up with levels and tape measures and would show me how they measure the lanes, they showed me when pins were good and also showed me when pins needed to be thrown out. My dad recently shared a funny story about Bill and RL… he said that if the lane was slightly off, Bill would say to RL, “just go stand on the other side.. and now it’s level”…Lol!! That’s the kind of people they were. Genuine, authentic, and caring… They made it easy and were true partners. They would also show where and when we needed to make important repairs which sometimes included cutting out part of the wood lane and replacing with new wood… which is where this piece of the wood lane came from!! …and when I bowled my first 300 at the age of 19, Bill was one of the first to congratulate me. I can still see his smile…

My heart is full as I share this story. It’s full of joy and love and gratitude for these incredible memories. Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I will always remember how Bill made our family feel and I will always be grateful for these times and for his son and my friend Carl for reaching out to share a small piece of history with me to have in my office… for me to now share along with other bowling stories with my children and grandchildren! It’s so much more than a piece of wood… it’s my “lane of life”!

When I posted this story on social media a few days ago, more than 100 people made comments on how this was part of their story too. So, I thought, what if I would have not posted. I would never have known how much this would have connected with others, or stepped into their stories too. I connected with so many people from high school friends, to teachers, business partners, customers, family and friends! Some people were thanking me for just sharing the story, some were sharing how this season of life made them feel, others shared how they remember bowling and playing pool and video games growing up in their home town. One person shared they were glad to see if was finally home. This filled my heart… I would have never known. It was so energizing and inspiring to connect with everyone. You see, when we share our stories, we open up a whole world of opportunities to connect and live our stories together…

Recently I commented on a twitter post by Nicole Roberts about a challenge shared by Steve Browne. I decided to engage in the challenge and share my takeaways… Nicole then responded with an idea that I wasn’t thinking about… So, when I thanked her for the feedback, she responded with a GIF stating “when one of us shines, all of us shine”! It made my day…

When one shines, we all shine… this says it all!

So, what’s a story you want to share that is waiting to be heard by others? Maybe it’s time to share… with a friend, a colleague in the workplace, or simply post on social to begin the journey connecting with others… or even start like Carl and just ask a question! As a leader, this is a great way to drive in the leadership lane by making it a daily practice to learn everyone’s stories. You will enjoy the lane of connections too!

Do you own a piece of history? Share below and let’s hear your story!

Quote of the Day: A conversation can change your life.” Mel Robbins

Call to Action: Spend some time reflecting this week on stories in your life. Write them down in your journal and share when the time is right. Also, engage in other people’s stories. They are waiting for you to connect!

This has been A Relocation Minute on “a lane of connections” with Bruce Waller, for more information, call 972-389-5673, or email bwaller@goarmstrong.com or check out my social media Facebook and Twitter page. Also, check out www.BruceWaller.com to review my leadership book “Find Your Lane” and journal “Milemarkers” both available on amazon. Be sure to subscribe to my YOUTUBE channel for weekly messages to encourage you and others in the workplace! Looking for a Podcast? Check out “Life in the Leadership Lane” on APPLE PODCAST as I talk to leaders making a difference in the workplace!

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