Since StoryCorps began piloting One Small Step in 2018, more than 1,500 people in 40 cities have taken part in the project. What is it like to have a conversation with a stranger? Sara Coffman, who recorded with Sarah Nadeau in Shreveport, Louisiana, in December 2020 recounted her experience.
When I first sat down in Shreveport, LA to have a One Small Step conversation, I had no idea what to expect. Other than having the same first name, my conversation partner and I seemed very different and had starkly different views.
Sarah and I were asked what moment in our life defined our political views. When we each told our story, it became clear that our different backgrounds and life experiences informed how we think and see the world.
As I felt the conversation open up, any defensiveness melted away, and we were able to truly share our life experiences with one another. And, though we didn’t suddenly agree on everything, we were both able to look at the world and one another’s opinions with fresh eyes.
Over the years I have met so many different people in different places, and I have relished the opportunity to share my experience and hear from others about theirs.
That day and conversation helped me see that when we listen to one another, no matter how different we may seem to be, we realize that we are all human. The One Small Step experience helped to cultivate the sense of the joy and wonder that happens when we sit down face-to-face, and look each other in the eye — no yelling, no distraction, just a wide-open heart.
Conversations like this are a courageous act, and it can be easy to feel defensive or frightened of being judged. But, this one step — this one conversation — helps us grow, learn to be more open and mindful, and brings into focus just how amazing our world really is once we see just how connected we all are.
When you walk away from a One Small Step interview, you will be changed. And there is a good chance you will be open to having many more conversations just like this.
I encourage you to take the next step.