Simon Ekin

How striking up a conversation with a stranger landed me a coffee

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”  Mary Oliver

Please, will you consider what an extraordinary life you have, and how the simple act of storytelling could have a big impact on it?

I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t taught to tell stories in everyday life. Some are, it seems, natural storytellers, but I believe we can learn how to do this. When we tell our stories, no matter how seemingly insignificant they are, they give the listener something very valuable, something unique, something unexpected. 

I judge that in many cultures, particularly Western culture, we’re not taught the process of telling stories. Yes, we know about fables and myths and so on, maybe from school. But what about our daily lives? What about those little moments that seem to be so insignificant? What if we were to be able to craft them in a way that a simple trip to get a cup of coffee becomes something valuable to someone else, and to ourselves, in turn? Send me a message and I will show you the 5-step process of telling a story that transforms. 

Here’s an example: It’s 8:00 o’clock on Monday morning and I head out for a cup of coffee and some groceries. I walk across the busy road, towards a coffee spot; it’s a little hatch nearby where people place their orders, and I notice an elegant-looking woman walking towards the ramp that leads to the coffee counter. I particularly notice her shoes. They’re high-heeled, beige in colour and I can’t help wondering – not for the first time – what it must be like walking in high heels, particularly on uneven surfaces! 

They look great, and she looks great in them, and I think to myself, “I should compliment her on them.” And then, the voice in my head starts up: “It’s probably not appropriate…what will she think? Will she think I’m trying to pick her up? Will it get awkward all?”  

I walk up the ramp, on which she is now waiting in the queue, and I say to her, “I love your shoes, they are so elegant!” She smiles and says thank you as I head into the shop. As I head out to the queue, I start to feel a little self-conscious, projecting that she will think it was the start of a chatting-up process, and now what? The voice is doing its thing again! 

I walk out and join the queue behind her, telling myself to just relax, have a conversation, and see what happens. I ask her what her day is looking like. She says she is running late, and asks if I have a headache, given that it’s Monday, which is clearly a thing for her! She seems very open and willing to converse. She introduces herself with a firm, outstretched hand. Her name is Mila and she works for a financial services institution. We compare notes, asking each what the day has in store for us. I tell her I am pondering an idea for a blog later today that I will be writing later. I suggest she considers doing one too, which she quickly dismisses. 

She offers me a coffee, which I willingly accept. “I have got all these free coffee vouchers,” she says, “and I rarely end up using them.” I ask if she would like to chat further over our coffee, but she tells me her boss is already asking where she is. I hand her my card that says, helping men get their Mojo back, she says, “Oh, I should tell my boyfriend about you!” I laugh that the chances are not high he will connect with me, but who knows? 

And with that, she leaves.  

I reflected on the conversation; this is what I got: 

  1. I think if you’re sincere and honest, things – different things – can happen that can be small or lead to something big, who knows? But I do know that it is quite rare.  
  2. I think having the courage – my favourite of all! – to just speak whatever is there in a way that is not trying to get something but just saying it like it is, is one of the most important actions a human being can take. 
  3. Trust the process – if you open your mouth, you’re far more likely to have a new and different experience, rather than the ‘same old, same old.” In my case, I had a delightful conversation with a stranger that ended in a gift of a cup of coffee! 

Why not strike up a conversation with a stranger and see what happens? 

I’d love to hear. Drop me a line!

Mojestically yours!


P.S. Find out your Mojo score by completing the anonymous 2-minute Mojo-Meter here: