Lessons from a Boulder Street Performer

Leadership, Life, Social

Today, my cousin and I drove into Boulder to find a place to eat. We went down to Pearl St to see what wasn’t too packed. We walked up the strip and we saw a guy giving high 5s and hugs.

If you know Pearl St, it’s a very cultural diverse area. People are singing, asking for money, juggling, balancing acts, a bunch of sidewalk performers. Anyways, so we walk around and saw this guy and then we turned around and ate a pizza place near where we saw him.

We started to observe him a bit more to see more of what he was doing. If you view the tweet you will see him hug a guy in a red shirt. Also, there is a guy in a white bandanna that eventually turned around and walked back to him to take a hug from him.

He did this for about an hour, he would yell with enthusiasm every time someone engaged in a high five or hug. He was very enthusiastic! So after an hour, he then walked over and grab a guitar. He then started singing to people. Now, most performers here stay in one spot and usually expect people to draw to them. Of all the performers on the street, he is the only one that would go to people. He was very interactive. Some people would do a little dance, some people would literally wait for him to stop to take a picture and he’d give them a hug and high five.

Though I observed a stranger giving high fives and hugs, I observed a few other things…

One, from a business standpoint, if you’re selling a product you can’t expect people to run to you, you’ve got to establish a rapport with your target audience. This guy did that. My thought was he’s probably trying to get people to listen to him play and sing, but by spending an hour giving people high fives and hugs, he invested in them and took interest in them. People noticed and people gave him the time to listen. He didn’t shove his product down their throat, he took time to groom his audience and gave them something before asking for something(and he really didn’t need to ask, they gave without him asking). Build that rapport. 

Two, people skills are an overlooked subject in today’s business. Businesses want to hire people based off the knowledge they may have or received from experience or college. Knowledge may get the job done, but it may not keep you in business. This guy had a way of inspiring people that made people want to be around him. Strangers who in a short time invested in his product of compassion, love, and all around kindness. People skills are something that can be difficult to learn, you either have them or you don’t. This guy had incredible people skills. It was plain to see that he wasn’t there for him, he was there to give and people accepted it. Invest in people skills. 

Three, although many people were susceptible to his kindness there were a lot of people that weren’t and that’s when I realized how kindness has become such a foreign interaction. We automatically think, “What do you want from me?” After talking with him after we ate, we asked him why he did what he was doing. His response was, “I just like to make people happy. I’m not here to really make money. I want to make people happy with everything I do, high fives, hugs, singing.” Be kind, people need it and it doesn’t hurt if you need it too.

Four, he didn’t expect people to come to him, he went to them. He met them were they were. He gave, gave, and gave some more. Selflessness in such a simple way and he was making many people happy. Be a little more selfless. 

I was really inspired by this guy. Before giving him a hug and a high five, I told him, “You’ve gotta keep doing what you’re doing. You’ve got a talent that people take for granted. Develop your craft and keep inspiring. Whatever your goals are, this is what will get you to them.” He spends a lot time making others happy, perhaps he just needs someone to show him a little encouragement. He gave his appreciation to us and we had to leave.

His name is Pir. He is basically on the verge of being homeless, but I doubt anyone ever could take away his happiness. He’s got goals to go to college soon and I hope he gets through it. He’s got great potential to be a great leader.  If I owned a company or a business I would hire him on the spot.  He’s the kind of people you want engaging with your customers.  If you’re in Boulder on Pearl St and a guy is giving free hugs and high fives, it’s probably Pir.  Give him a hug or a high five,  he deserves it!


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