It’s been said that we are all connected. I know this to be true. Garth Brooks will be inducted next week into the Songwriters Hall of Fame here in New York City, and I will be seated at his table as he accepts.
How I got to know him is a story I want to share with you. About ten years ago I was hosting and producing a television program on breast cancer. I interviewed Colleen Brooks for my research who at that time was battling cancer. It was a Friday evening when we spoke. The minute she picked up the phone I knew she was a “hoot” of a woman. When I asked her about her son Garth, she told a story about attending a July fourth concert, saying, “You know Helene, I am proud of Garth. And I dressed for the occasion — I wore red, white and blue.”
Several years later I wrote to Garth because we were creating a program on Fathers and Daughters and knew he had taken a hiatus from his career to raise his three girls. One afternoon I got a call: “This is Garth, is Helene there?” I sure was. That started our friendship — and we have gotten to know one another through the years.
Garth is a man who cares about others — he is considerate and has a sense of compassion. He cares for his daughters and wants them to grow into strong women. The first time I met him in person was at the Algonquin Hotel Roundtable Restaurant. It is a writer’s haunt, very comfortable, like a big living room. I thought he might not want to be recognized so I got us a table in the back of the restaurant. I waited a few minutes before Garth came strutting in, wearing his cowboy hat. Everyone recognized him. I am honored to be his friend.
What have I learned from our friendship:
We are more similar than different. Look for common ground as you connect with others and you’ll find it.
Don’t think it can’t happen — it can! When you are working on something important and know that its value will impact others, don’t quit if at first you meet a lot of obstacles.
Look at what you bring to the table. A relationship is a two-way street and we all have something to offer, no matter how senior or accomplished the other person seems to be.
Look for adventure and you will find it. There is always something new to be learned about people, places and things. Enjoy the ride — it can be exciting if you make it that way.