February 14th, 2011

How I Met My Husband: A Valentine’s Day Love Story

by Jacqueline Whitmore

I’m often asked how I met my husband, Brian. Believe it or not, I met my Prince Charming at the dump! Yes, the Palm Beach County dump!

Several years ago when I was still working at The Breakers, my manager called me into her office one morning.  She said that she wanted me to accompany 15 other employees on an “educational” field trip to the Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority.

“What is the Solid Waste Authority?” I asked.

“It’s the county dump,” Dale replied.

Needless to say, I didn’t jump for joy about this assignment. Instead, I tried to resist.

“Do I have to go?” I asked.

“Yes, you do,” she said sternly.  “As you know, our hotel has started a new recycling program and I’d like for you to take pictures of our employees as they learn how glass, tires and paper get recycled. Then I want you to put some of the photographs in our employee newsletter,” she added.

Frankly, I had no interest in learning about rubbish. I already had a full schedule and I thought it would be a complete waste of time (no pun intended). But despite my reservations, I reluctantly agreed to board the bus with the other hotel staff members and go on the trip.

When we pulled up at the Solid Waste Authority entrance, the bus doors opened and a tall, dark, handsome man stepped onto the bus. My antennas went up and I instantly developed a curiosity in trash! I suddenly sidled from the back of the bus to the front so I could get a better look at our tour guide — a genial man named Brian Gleason.

To make a long story short, this networking opportunity led me to the altar. And as I write this, Brian and I have been married for twelve wonderful years. Because I opened myself up to a new experience, I ended up with a new connection and, ultimately, a loving partnership.

Think back to all of the opportunities (business and social) that have come your way — a new job, a promotion, business venture, or even marriage. You never know where you might meet your next great opportunity.

If you want to cultivate new relationships, scale the walls of your company, and lead a richer, fuller life, you must be willing to reach out and do things you might not ordinarily do, and go places others typically don’t go. And when you get there, treat everyone you meet as a potential customer, client, new best friend, or life partner.

I did, and as a result, I said, “I do!”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This story is an excerpt from my forthcoming book, Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals (St. Martin’s Press, November 2011).

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