I have a friend who also happens to be my mentor. Dennis is always willing to give his time, insight, and experience. One of the things that I enjoy when I meet up with him is his energy. He always has ideas, and I wish that I had the same mind. One of the things that helps him to operate this way is Dennis reads books…A LOT. When he reads, he thinks of ways to apply what he has read to his own life as well as others. He introduced me to the idea that people should never eat alone. Every meal could be an opportunity for us to learn, to grow, to build. This idea comes from the book, Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. This is not a review of his book, rather I would like to share the general idea.
Everyone knows that networking is key, and has been for years. However, with the proliferation of networking events, our inboxes are flooded with invitations. Such messages as network after work, or stop by for drinks. These events do certainly serve a purpose and many groups have become quite polished. However, I cannot be the only one tired of being around the “network jerk”. These are the people that are just there to blanket the event with their business cards simply hoping to gain something. Whether needing a new job, new clients, or anything else, this person is at every event. Don’t be that guy!
Keith Ferrazzi’s book talks about a different approach in that it suggests informal networking events where you leverage your network to invite people you may not know to come with people you do know, for dinner or some meal. His idea of never eating alone is wonderful to me. It resonates so well because I am missing opportunities to talk to others when I consider how often I eat lunch, alone, at my desk.
Whether at home, a restaurant, or a cabin in the woods, it provides a more familial atmosphere that promotes better energy and conversation. I think this is a really good idea, and one of the things I hope to incorporate into my life in the coming new year. Though my business-mind calls it “expanding my network”, to be honest I want to expand my team. I want to bring more positive people into my life, more adventurous people, and I want to do it in a comfortable way.
What would this look like? I envision something happening every two weeks where we all get together for dinner and we all are allowed to bring someone else if we would like. Anyone is welcome, and it can be hosted at home or at a restaurant. Depending on how well this works, we may be forced to use a restaurant. Either way, the goal is to provide an event for sharing of stories, successes, obstacles and anything else. We can be our own brain trust, and it could be something wonderful.
You don’t need business cards, and don’t bring a resume. This is not a place for you to find a job. The rules are simple: bring a story, a friend, good conversation, or any combination of the three. If you want to be a part of this, send me a message or comment on this post. We all have so much going on in our lives, let’s take an hour or two for ourselves.