The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on February 17, 2011.

I had coffee with a new member of our Toastmasters Club after our meeting last week. She offered me part of the whole-wheat croissant she had ordered, and I took a small piece, just to have a taste. It was delicious, much more so than I expected. I thanked her for sharing it, and for introducing me to something I might never have ordered on my own.

“It’s always fun to share something new with someone,” she said.

I couldn’t agree more, and not just because it meant I got to sample a tasty new treat.

I started thinking about times when I’ve discovered something new, and then shared it – or shared information about it – with someone else. Or the times others have shared something new with me. It could be a sample of something to eat or drink. It could be the recommendation of a new movie, book, or restaurant. Or it could simply be a new insight or observation. But there’s always pleasure in the discovery of something new and wonderful, and there’s a different but equal pleasure in sharing it with someone else, especially if they find it as wonderful as you do.

There’s always a risk, however. I can think of a few occasions in which I raved to friends about something I enjoyed and thought that they would, too, and then started to second-guess myself after they said they’d try it or check it out. What if they didn’t like it, I wondered. Or what if they did, but it didn’t quite measure up to the level I led them to expect? What if it turned out to be something they would rate as a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10, but from the way I talked about it, they expected it to be at least a 12? Or worse yet – what if they rated it a 2?

Whenever I notice thoughts like that creeping in, I try to just shake them loose and laugh them off. I don’t want them to keep me from sharing my opinions or my enthusiasm with others. Especially since it feels so good when they come back and say, as they usually do, “I checked out that store you raved about, and you were right!” Or, “I loved that movie you told me about. I probably wouldn’t have gone to see it if you hadn’t recommended it so highly, but I’m glad I did!”

Part of the satisfaction comes from having our opinion listened to and respected. When others show that they trust our recommendations, it gives us credibility. It says that they value our expertise. And when their experience is a good one, it gives us a sense of validation.

Another part of the satisfaction comes from knowing the other person well enough to be able to make a recommendation of something we think they’d enjoy. And from their knowing us well enough to do the same.

Plus, it just feels good. As my new friend from Toastmasters pointed out, it’s fun to share.

The reason we were meeting for coffee, by the way, was to get to know each other a little better. We had had several conversations already, and had already discovered that we had a lot to talk about. We were alike in some ways, and very different in others. And we both quickly realized that there were fascinating and helpful things we could learn from each other.

I’m pretty sure we’ll enjoy a friendship that grows stronger over time. And I expect that we’ll develop a good business relationship as well. As we get to know each other even more, I’m confident we’ll have many recommendations to share with each other. Restaurants. Resources. Classes and clients.

And, of course, any new place we discover that serves coffee and a delicious whole-wheat croissant.

© Betty Liedtke, 2011