David Bowie has always been a beloved artist of mine, not only for his amazing catalog of music but also for how he was a chameleon throughout his career.

Bowie didn’t sit back and wait for change to affect him. He made change happen. He wasn’t willing to follow the norms of artistry, rock and roll or image. He was comfortable with who he was and expressed himself authentically.

I’ve tried to be more like Bowie when it comes to changes in my life, personally and professionally. When you choose to define the parameters of change around you, as he did, it lights a path for others to see and makes it easier for them to embrace change.

Let me give you an example.

I love connecting with people and always have. I believe that each person I meet is amazing and unique. This alone makes me want to learn who they are, what they believe in and how they view life. It fascinates me. I have never hesitated to reach out and see how we could get to know each other better. As a result, I’ve been able to develop new relationships and friendships around the world.

One thing I don’t do, however, is make comparisons. I want to know you for you, and that’s it. I don’t look to pit one person against another for the purpose of ranking the relationships. The norm for many, unfortunately, is to judge, compare and decide if others are worth spending time with. But I think every person is worth my time. Every. Single. One. That is one belief I hold that never changes.

Relationships, unfortunately, do change. People flow in and out of my life more than I wish they would. This may happen because of one misconstrued interaction, a difference in beliefs or difficulty finding time for each other. Relationships, you see, take time—invested time.

I’m bummed when people fade away from my life. It’s not a change I enjoy. I typically try to rekindle the relationship, hoping there are still some embers that can restore a burning flame. It happens in some instances, but not all the time. It’s not uncommon for our relationships to change over time.

My hope is this: I want people to know that there is at least one person on this planet who’s willing to see them, listen to them, value them and learn from them—even if it’s for a brief moment or period of time. It’s my way of being Bowie. I choose to drive change in my relationships with others, and I’m not afraid to break from the norm, and put myself out there, if it helps me establish a new relationship.

So if you see a tall, geeky person reaching out to you, be calm. It’s my inner Ziggy willing to get to know you. It’s the ch-ch-change I hope to see everyone embrace.

The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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