Would you have coffee with a stranger?

Would you have coffee with a stranger?

All of my best friends were strangers once.

Today I received an email newsletter from my friend Drew Dudley. Drew is a leadership expert and always has great insights to share. He talked about the need to “Be gutsy” and encouraged his readers to ask the question “What did I try today that might not work, but tried anyway?”.
I decided to accept his challenge. 

By now you know that one of the things that makes my heart sing is connecting with people. With that in mind I decided to try something that might not work. I decided to try a social media experiment I dubbed “Coffee with Strangers.”

“Strangers are just friends waiting to happen” ~Rod McKuen

The thing I love most about social media is both the quality and quantity of connections I have made through a variety of platforms. I am always looking for ways to leverage and expand that. If we have connected on LinkedIn you have likely received a phone call from me. If we connected on Facebook or Twitter the same may be true. I never call with any agenda other than a genuine desire to deepen the connection. Social media is severely underutilized as a relationship building tool and I plan to change that. So if we haven’t met, do a little Googling and give me a phone call.

Social media is one giant ass cocktail party where thousands show up, yet few actually have any meaningful dialog. I am changing that one connection at a time. I appreciate not everyone has my extroverted nature and that this concept may be a little foreign to you. I can also assure you that is still sometimes a struggle for me to make these deeper connections.

While I feed off the energy of others, I am still a fairly shy individual. Doing what I did today definitely took me well out of my comfort zone.

One thing I know to be true is that when we push our boundaries, that is where we grow.

This is what keeps me moving forward with experiments like today. The knowledge that whatever happens, I will grow from the experience.

“I never lose. I either win or learn.” ~ Nelson Mandella

I travel a fair bit for my work, speaking gigs and plain old recreation and for a number of years I have made it a habit to put out a public call on social media for a coffee in whatever city I might be visiting. People often ask me “Aren’t you worried about who might accept?” I know you were thinking it. The truth is that by putting myself out there, unqualified and unfiltered, I have ended up meeting many people that I likely otherwise never would have met.I have had some incredible experiences including meetings with housewives, CEO’s, lawyers and a remarkable young woman who creates and sells crowns.

I decided to extend that one step further and see who might join me for a video coffee on Facebook Live. This completely fell under the category of “What have I tried today that might not work but I tried it anyway.” I knew that when I went live I would be sitting having coffee by myself with all my Facebook friends watching (and perhaps thinking “WTF is this dude doing?”).

If you want to watch the recording of this experiment you can see it on Facebook here. I was thrilled that I ended up having 5 or 6 individuals join me for a coffee. I literally had coffee from Victoria to Halifax. My friend Drew joining briefly from Halifax and Hali, one of our lender partners join from Victoria.

I had zero expectations going into this experiment and was blown away by the positive response I received. I cannot wait to do this again!

As with all experiments, we learn, adapt and grow. There were a few lessons learned in this one and I will use them to ensure our next ‘Coffee with Strangers’ is an incredible experience for all who attend.

This coffee date was entirely spontaneous, however the next one will be scheduled in advance in an effort to allow more to join.

What about you? Would you have coffee with a stranger? Better yet would you have coffee with me?

Leave me your email and I will let you know when the next one is happening!


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