I had breakfast this morning with a a friend, Kareem, who is someone that always teaches, pushes, and inspires my work both as a person and as an entrepreneur. I don’t see or speak to Kareem all that often mostly because he does not live in NYC, but I always come away from our interactions with a new found perspective, a new thing to test, a new way forward. I’d certainly like to have more conversations like that, and so I was thinking as I walked this morning…how did I meet Kareem?
Well I’ve realized that I met him as I’ve met lots of other interesting people now in my life. I just reached out to him randomly. I remember stumbling on his blog, reading over it and thinking “this is a really interesting guy with a cool background, I’d like to have a chat,” and now here we are several years later meeting for breakfast.
A person I’m often asked how I originally met, Jerry, who has since become a good friend, coach, mentor, and teacher was another person I reached out to randomly. I remember seeing him speak on a panel back in 07 and in his introduction he mentioned he was doing a bit of teaching and coaching, so I thought “Ok this is a guy I’d love to have a conversation with.” Unfortunately after the event I wasn’t able to connect with Jerry, but when I got home I did some googling and digging, found someone who seemed to know him, and sent an open and honest note saying that I was just interested in having a conversation with Jerry. A week later I was meeting Jerry in his office, and 6 years later I’m still close with him.
My friend Zak used to refer to it as “acting on inspired thought,” that little moment where you think “ooh this person is interesting, I should reach out to them.” I have only done that in spurts in my life, but looking now almost all of my good relationships related to work have come from these moments. I think part of what makes this work is a genuine interest in people, and learning about them instead of trying to get something from them, but the lesson was clear to me this morning: You never know. I’m not saying you should flood your schedule with coffees and catch ups. I don’t think that’s good for anyone. But in those moments when you’re reading a blog post, reading a newspaper article, hearing from a friend about someone when you think “I’d love to meet them,” then act. Reach out. Connect or try to connect, person to person. You really never know.