After I had narrowed down my contacts and sorted them into different categories, I started to reach out to other people. Asking if they were up for a chat. As easy as that.
What did I write? Pretty straightforward, at least to those who I know:
Hey XYZ, Hope you are good? We haven’t talked for a while. Would love to have a chat with you again. Do you have some time in the next few weeks?
I realized pretty quick that these talks will be more fun in person than via Zoom. So I also asked if they are up for a coffee (I started drinking coffee in the first lockdown — after not drinking any coffee in the 46 years before — but this is another story) or a walk.
And I was surprised that basically everyone answered and had some time. Everyone who lives in Hamburg was up for a personal meeting somewhere outside. Those not in Hamburg were up for a Zoom call.
What really became a “secret weapon” over the last few months were walks. I can’t count on how many “walking meetings” I did. What is fantastic about a walking meet, besides the fresh air and that you actually move instead of sitting in front of a computer or in a conference room: you are way more concentrated. I rarely experienced that anyone took their phones out. And most walks were around two hours and never felt rushed. Quite often, the opposite happened: people canceled their next video call, “ah, it is a call that I can skip, not so important, let’s rather keep walking.”
I never thought that it would be so easy to meet with people during a lockdown — I would even say the meetings would never be so intense if we were not in a pandemic.
Also interesting was that basically every talk was about change. What will Covid and the last few months mean for business? For society? For myself? Probably every second person said they have or will change something for themselves as well.
Until today I talked to close to 100 different people, 80% in person. This is a true treasure of inspiration. New thoughts, new business ideas, a better understanding of a broad range of topics, and building close personal relationships are what I got out of them.
But something else happened over time. I realized that the people I met also enjoyed the discussions with me. A lot also took some inspiration from our meetings or valued my thoughts or advice. It actually helped me gain some self-confidence, that some of my knowledge is somehow valuable.
I also reached out to a lot of people I never met before. And I was surprised how many were up for a chat as well.
The second secret weapon became LinkedIn. I am surprised that basically everyone is on LinkedIn and actually using it (probably worth another post as well).
Sadly there is one thing all those different meetings are not doing for me: answering the question on what I should do next. You can meet with so many people — and also use this as a distraction. But in the end, it is up to each one of us to make decisions. So the more people I met, the bigger the questions became: what am I good at? What am I going to focus on? What is my “offer”?
If I found a few answers to these questions — in the next episode 😊
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