I recently had the opportunity to do some hobbing and knobbing with some wonderful people who were if not at the top of their field, at least they were pretty close to it or were on a pretty steep upward trajectory. I was a guest at a party and my inviters weren’t able to arrive until about an hour after I did. So I went in not knowing anyone. Which can be pretty intimidating even if everyone isn’t in Black Tie! But I plunged right in and started introducing myself to whomever would shake my hand. I was surprised at some of the business titles at well known companies I met and most like would have had my confidence shaken had I let myself think about the jobs and responsibilities behind those titles. Fortunately I was able to put the jobs and the titles aside and just relate to the person I was talking to at that moment as a person and not a job. And listen to the worry in the new mother’s voice as she told me about her newborn still in the hospital after 2 months. Or the Dad so proud of his son starting at college at Wake Forest. And the interesting thing that happened is these people, who are faced with folks wanting something from them on a daily basis, seemed to relax for a bit and just be human. It wasn’t easy cutting through the facade they put up for ease and efficiency, but once I was able to, a real connection was made. I learned an important lesson that I will try to remember in the future-people are not their jobs or their accomplishments or their fame but they are the parents, siblings, children, friend and lovers who face Little League games, births, graduations and deaths just like I do. This is what binds us together as humans. The rest is really just window dressing.