Ditch the Birth Control

First meetings.

We have them every day.

Some are memorable, some not.

They have the power to birth a thrilling professional relationship. Most of the time, we’re on full-throttle birth control. Double-condom protection.

Here’s a first meeting to outshine all first meetings.

The great movie director Mike Nichols, director of classics like The Graduate and Carnal Knowledge, dozens of Broadway standards and HBO hits like Angels in America, passed away on November 20. In a year-old clip from the tv show The View, Nichols talks about his first meeting with Whoopi Goldberg.

I was teaching an acting class once a week and someone told me about this person who was doing a one-woman show in a studio down the street. This somehow felt plugged into what I was doing. I went to see your show and I wanted to meet you so I went backstage afterwards. This has never happened to me before or since. You opened the door, and I burst into tears, and we just fell into each other’s arms.

I get chills as Nichols recalls the moment.

Goldberg was an unknown street performer at the time. Nichols launched her career, became her professional mentor and life-long friend.

It was a divine moment.

They don’t happen with everyone. They don’t have to.

But it reminds me of what can happen when we ditch the birth control.

First meetings.

We tend to show up day in, day out, professional mask intact. The mask tends to serve us well. We play the happy cheerleader. The perfect team player. The ideal job candidate.

We sail through our first meetings with professional aplomb. Toss out one well-rehearsed elevator pitch after the next. And we actively create one unmemorable meeting after another.

We don’t drop down. Ever.

Whoopi Goldberg and Mike Nichols dropped.

Down and into each other.

They didn’t prevent the drop. They allowed it.

Birth control bypassed.

The drop will not happen with everyone. The possibility always exists.

First meetings.

There will be many this week. Scheduled, unscheduled.

Decide to enjoy every single first meeting.

Not all encounters will be divine. But look for the moment when the meeting wants to drop.

And leave the birth control at home.