My favorite place in the world may surprise you.

When you ask people about their favorite places you get a lot of similar answers. The beach. The mountains. The woods. A bustling cosmopolitan area. Quaint villages. Maybe a Rennaissance fair for the corset and turkey leg crowd.

But one of my favorite places is on elevators. I love those things. Ironically, the elevator was invented by Elisha Graves Otis, a Vermonter. Which I find hilarious because the tallest building in Vermont is still only about 4 stories high. And that’s a barn in Windsor County.

(Before any cranky Vermonters send me hate mail and explain that there is a six-story hotel in Burlington, let me say I already know that. I am a Vermonter myself. My wife wears maple-scented perfume when she wants to get my attention.)

Back to the elevator.

Elevators are awkward places. They are small boxes where strangers gather too close for comfort. Like an 80s sitcom. But that awkwardness creates the magic of an elevator.

Instead of simply sitting in the uncomfortableness of the elevator I embrace it. I use it to my advantage.

I lob out jokes intended to break the ice. It is easier to get a laugh on an elevator than anywhere else on Earth. Because the situation is inherently funny.

The Weaponry, the advertising and ideas agency I founded, has recently moved into a new office in a 14-story building in downtown Milwaukee. I now ride 2 elevators twice a day. One elevator between the parking garage and the lobby. One between the lobby and my office. And I love them both.

I notice the tension every time I step onboard. And I use it to create human interactions the way a sailboat uses tension on the sail to propel the vessel.

That elevator tension is a gift. Use it. It accelerates human interactions. It facilitates conversation. It’s the perfect place to start a new relationship.

Trust me. I met my wife on an elevator. She laughed at my jokes. I stalked her when she got off. Now we’ve been married for 20 years. #truestory

Key Takeaway.

The oddity of the elevator creates the perfect conversation starter. Use it to your advantage. It will help you meet new people. It will help you laugh more. And relationships that start with a laugh are the most enjoyable.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

It was an ordinary day until I got on that elevator.

It was June 6th, 2000.  A rainy day. That morning I woke up, ate breakfast, packed my lunch and walked 10 minutes through downtown Milwaukee to my office. Just like every week day.

I entered the building at 733 N. Van Buren Street, and made my way to the elevators. I caught the far elevator, just before the doors closed. I squeezed into the packed elevator, like the last clown in the car.

I was facing the back of the elevator. Everyone else was facing me. I felt like the quarterback facing the rest of his teammates in a huddle. Many in the huddle were my co-workers. So I began to joke and entertain my captive audience from my awkward but enjoyable all-eyes-on-me position. Did I mention I love a captive audience?

That’s when I saw her. To my right, in the back corner of the elevator was a beautiful young woman I had never seen before. I would have remembered. She was smiling at my improv routine. And I was smiling at her smiling… (I’m not smiling, you’re smiling!)

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In my head I went into my own version of Garth’s ‘Foxy Lady’ routine from Wayne’s World the movie. I was totally taken by this young business lady stranger.

The elevator door opened up on the 4th floor, my floor, and I had to get off. To my surprise n’ delight, she got off too. And walked right past the reception desk and disappeared down hallway. So I disappeared down the steps, to my office, where I fired up my Mac (cause I’m a Mac & Cheese guy).

I then pulled up the staff database to find out who the elevator babe was. My name, Adam Albrecht, was the very first name to show up on the alphabetized list. Then I clicked through the profiles, one-by-one, but didn’t find her. I had almost given up hope. Until I got to the very last of 120 profiles. And that’s where I saw her. Ooh, I saw her. She walked in through the out door, out door.

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Her name was Dawn Zabel. She was in the media department. She had just started. And best of all, the Spouse¬†field was blank. She was the one I had been looking for. Not just on the database. In life. I knew it. And we hadn’t even spoken yet.

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Today, Dawn and I are celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary. I am just as crazy about her today as I was the moment I first spotted her on that elevator 19 years ago. She is my wife, my best friend, my business partner, my coach and my biggest cheerleader. And I am her biggest fan.

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Key Takeaway

Keep your eyes open. You never know when the opportunity of a lifetime will appear right in front of your eyes.

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