Brownie sundaes, book covers, and the day I met a girl named Sophia.

Brownie sundaes, book covers, and the day I met a girl named Sophia.

coffee or teaI’m sure you’re wondering why I decided to write about my personal life. I want to open my life and my heart to you. You are my reader. Without you I have no reason to write. If you’re going to give me a few minutes of your life I’d like to give you something more than the usual…

A few months ago I met a beautiful woman. Her name is Sophia.

Now, if you know me at all you already know I’m a hopeless romantic. If you didn’t know, consider yourself brought up to speed.

One evening back in March of this year I was designing a client’s book cover at my local Starbucks. Drinking hot green tea in my favorite seat. Not one of those seats where you’re forced to sit face-to-face with someone you don’t know – with your back facing the room and laptop screen open for all to view. It’s not that I had anything naughty on my screen (maybe), but you know it’s uncomfortable to work when people are over your shoulder.

I had a good seat. A booth seat. At my Starbucks there is a long booth bench against the far right wall. It’s not a booth in the traditional sense. It’s a half booth. I like it because I can people-watch without being secluded behind the walls of a traditional booth.

In the corner away from loud conversation and crowded power outlets I’m tucked in my half-booth. Another thing about the booth seats – a vacant booth seat is hard to come by. You can’t just walk in and have access. There are only a few in the cafe and they’re always occupied. I usually start working at a crowded table and keep one eye on the booth section. If I see someone show the slightest hint of packing up I immediately get up from my seat, walk over to them, and reserve the booth.

So…

I picked up my cup to take a sip of my green tea, which was now getting cold, and as I looked up I noticed a young woman staring at me from across the room. Well, I think she was staring, but if you ask her she insists she wasn’t 🙂

As our eyes locked, she made a facial expression that made me want to learn more about her. Something that said, “I understand you.” It was emotionally inviting. It felt nice to be understood without having to explain anything. It was like bypassing an awkward first date just to find out I wanted to see her again.

I can usually tell right away if someone is on my level. I’m not saying it’s a good level or a bad level or a smart level or an average level. Just, my level. A level where deep conversation can happen because there’s so much unspoken understanding of all the little details. We don’t get caught in “the fray”, as my sister calls it.

With butterflies in my stomach from making faces at each other for a few seconds, I smiled and went back to work. As I stared blindly at my laptop I realized I wasn’t doing any work at all. I couldn’t help but think about the facial-flirting that just happened. I knew this was more than just a random “drive-by” with the eyes.

After battling myself to go talk to her, I look up and see her standing in front of my table.

Our conversations were effortless. Organic. Engaging.

The next few weeks we had “Starbucks dates”. Sophia and I both enjoy a good booth seat. I would get to Starbucks early to make sure we both had one. We shared chocolate chip cookies that were specially warmed just for us. One time I went around the corner to 7-11 to buy ice cream and we had a warm brownie sundae. Mmmph…just thinking of a warm brownie sundae makes my mouth water.

She’s also Catholic. I was raised Catholic but hadn’t been to Church in probably close to a decade. Our second Starbucks date landed on a Sunday. Sophia mentioned she was going to Church that evening. I went with her.

Sophia works in finance. She’s incredibly smart.

We first met when she was studying for one of her CFA exams. CFA stands for Chartered Financial Analyst. To earn the honor of a CFA is a great accomplishment.

I told Sophia she should write a book about what it’s been like to go after the CFA credential. Pursuing something as difficult as a CFA is not for the faint-hearted. Sophia already has a full-time job. Going after the CFA is like working a second job. If she was able to write about the struggle and rewards of her first-hand experience it would be an attractive read to those following in her footsteps.

If she waits two or three years to start writing about what she’s going through now she will likely forget the small details and nuances that only a new student can point out. Sure, she can write a book about what it’s like to have the CFA credential, but what about the journey?

The same goes for you. Wherever you are in the learning process it’s important to start writing about it now. You don’t want to wait 5, 10, 20 years to start. You can make a smart investment in yourself by writing short manuscripts once per year, month, or week. How much will your collection be worth after 10 years? And how much will it be worth if you wait 10 years to start?

I know a lot of people get nervous when they think about the idea of writing a book. Almost as if they don’t have permission. Well, books, in the traditional sense, are gone. The power to publish is in your hands. It’s free. Permission is granted.

I wish I could give you more details about Sophia and I, but I can’t. Not because I want to make you wait, but because I don’t have any. Yet.

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