I was telling my client that I’m traveling with about an article I wrote for LinkedIn about how we are all connected by only three degrees of separation and we swapped stories. He is three degrees away from the owner of a major sports team; I’m three degrees from Bill Clinton through two different connections. But as fun as it is to realize how small the world really is, it’s my first degree connections I’m most thankful for.

-People like my dentist, who gives me his undivided attention, exudes confidence and competence and keeps his patients calm and relaxed, and has taught me a lot about customer service and professionalism (He’s also how I’m connected to Justin Beiber).

-My cousin in DC with whom I share our namesake. She has shown me generosity and humor during times I’ve needed it most and always knows the right thing to say under every situation. Through her, I’m connected to the owners of the Oakland raiders.

-A British friend from college who introduced me to warm plates and the joys of being a foodie (and connects me to Prince Charles).

And for all my first degree connections that have enriched my life and continue to make me a better person, I stand in awe and gladness.