This ain't small talk...

In 2013 I attended a lululemon summit in Whistler. The main presenter for the weekend was Susanne Conrad. To say the least, she was an enthusiastic gal, and she taught me one very important thing that I work on every SINGLE day. Her lesson?


Small talk. What a waste.


We are humans, living the most unique and intriguing story lines, so why do we spend so much time getting to know each other by talking about the weather, or traffic, or any of the other insignificant things that have nothing to do with who we are, what we love, why we love, or how we feel. We form habits of meeting people and presenting them with the most bland version of ourselves, and why, because we can be timid to talk about real shit, or because the right question wasn’t asked?


It’s a two way street.


When I was snowboarding in Utah last winter, I got on the chairlift with a man, probably in his mid-late 60’s. We were silent for the first 30 seconds, when he asked, “What’s the most amazing thing you’ve ever done?” Whoa, I had to think. “This mountain, just now, before I got on this chair with you.” I replied.  We talked about the mountain’s size and beauty and the powder we were blessed with. He then asked “What’s better, snowboarding or sex?” I said, “Snowboarding for sure, I get to go snowboarding way less often.” We got along well.


Susanne went on to teach us that when you meet someone, save those small questions for later. You’re trying to MEET this person, not get a vague outline of what their life sort of looks like. Ask them something meaningful.


What are you passionate about?


Where’s the most breathtaking place you’ve ever been?


What is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to overcome?


This is what Sickboy asks, "What is the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome?" How has it shaped you? How has it made you stronger, more resilient? How has it made you better?


The most common thread on our podcast as we discuss the unfathomable difficulty of living with a serious or terminal illness, is that no one would trade it in for a different experience. Even with the most intense and serious of conditions, they wouldn’t trade it. It has helped shape them into the amazing people they are as they sit in front of us and pour their heart out in the hopes of enlightening others who live with a similar experience. 


What we talk about, it ain’t small talk. It’s real talk, and sitting in a room for 2 hours with someone talking about something that profound… I feel as if I’ve known each of our guests for years.


My name is Taylor MacGillivary, and one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done is talk about illness and disease with strangers while we record the conversation.