One of the benefits of not working right now is I have time to read books that otherwise would be sitting on my nightstand waiting for the ever elusive free moment. In some small way, I feel like I am providing a service. I read a book, distilling the most salient points.... enjoying myself all the while... and exposing you to information you might not otherwise have.
Such is the case with today's blog.
The art of getting to know people is never more challenged or tested than it is when you move to a new city. Yet, my strength is not networking. I enjoy getting to know new people, but not in way that seems contrived or disingenuous. Thanks to my sister in-law welcoming me into her circle of friends; local blog readers like Cheryl; and old friends either moving to the state or still here from my first Texas go-around, my social network feels healthy. I still yearn, however, to involve myself in something meaningful - something either professionally-based or community-based. That has proven more difficult.
Thus the reason the book title, Never Eat Alone, caught my eye. I could easily eat alone most days... squirreled away with a good book or an interesting article. Engaging with mere acquaintances... never mind initiating such interactions... is not part of my hard wiring. For Keith Ferrazzi, however, it is second nature... 100% natural. I decided I could use a pep talk from Keith, so I bought the book.
I must admit some of the book felt a little over the top to me. Ferrazzi seems like Joe-Networker on steroids. He tells tales of waking up at 4 a.m. for conference calls with people in New York; meetings for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, coupled with pre-breakfast coffees, midday snacks, and pre-dinner cocktails with a whole other cast of characters; touching base with people via phone while sitting in cabs; and sending and receiving emails while sitting in the airport; then... waking up the next day at 4 a.m. to do it all over again. Me? I'd settle for a few interesting lunch meetings a week. So, I continued reading...
Something Ferrazzi says with which I do agree is, "Creativity begets more creativity, money begets more more money, knowledge begets more knowledge, more friends begets more friends, success begets more success. Most important, giving begets more giving." This law of abundance is, in many cases, what motivates him to expend so much energy on his circle of friends and business associates.
This is a blog about creativity, so let's focus exclusively on his first principle... Creativity begets more creativity. I believe that this true. I set out to host a blog about creativity and by interacting with all of you, I have in turn become more creative. We are in some ways as creative as the people with which we associate.... regardless of whether or not he/she considers themselves creative. Example... many, many years ago I worked with a woman who would proclaim herself void of all creativity. It's true she wasn't great at "making things," but she was masterful at organizing herself and her time. I learned many a thing from her about creative ways to store documents, to use my calendar, and strategies for handling each piece of paperwork only one time. By observing and participating in her world, I gained access to information that helped feed my creativity.
POINT: We must continuously feed our circle of friends and acquaintances if we are to remain vibrant, interesting, and yes... creative individuals. Ferrazzi actually maintains a list of three kinds of people and then systematically sets out to develop (and maintain) relationships with all three: (1) People he knows; (2) People he'd like to know; (3) and aspirational contacts.
Here's your challenge... a challenge in which I too will most certainly take part. Sometime before August 5, 2008 you should have requested a lunch meeting with someone from each of Ferrazzi's three categories. Here's how mine will shake out. Maybe it will give you some ideas for your own lunch invitations....
People I know: There are a number of people in Dallas who I knew from when I lived in Texas years ago. Some of them purely social contacts and others professional contacts. In the next two months I would like to invite Susan Adams to lunch. Susan works at Texas Christian University and while my connection to her is not strong, I do know her. Initiating a lunch with her (someone I technically already know), will allow me to reconnect and hear what is happening on TCU's campus.
People I want to know: There are lots of people I would like to know.... the Executive Director of Girl Scouts for North Texas; the Editor of our local paper - The Grapevine Courier; and Marti Pevehouse, the Director of Membership Development for the Grapevine Chamber of Commerce... to name a few. Maybe I'll pick one or maybe I'll work my way through all three. I'll report back as lunches occur.
Aspiration Contacts: Right now I have one... maybe two if you add Ellen DeGeneres. The one person on my aspiration list right now is Maria Shriver. I'm sure you're left wondering why. She recently published a book titled, Just Who Will You Be. The whole time I was reading it (start to finish in Barnes and Noble in about 30 minutes), I could have sworn she was talking directly to me. Her message hit me square between the eyes. I want to sit over lunch with Maria Shriver and learn more about her journey... what prompted her to publish this short book, and what life lessons she has to share as a result of her self exploration. I intend to write her a letter, telling her of my... OUR project and inviting her to lunch.
Remember... we can feed our creativity by inviting new people into our circle of friends. Assuredly we can have an "aha" from even the least creatively-minded person.
So, who will you invite to lunch and why? Share your list with fellow readers and be entered in a drawing to win these fun note cards...
- Bigger or Better: We have officially consummated our first trade!!!!! Maureen - loyal blog reader and contributor - has traded one case of wine for my Fish on a Stick Pin. So, the question is... What will you trade for a case of Sauvignon Blanc (a yummy summer wine)? Let the offers begin. And yes, I love Cheryl's idea of having readers post on Face Book, My Space... anything that helps us extend our reach. All the interested person has to do is post a comment stating what he/she would like to trade.
- Taste of USA: Yesterday Minnesota, today North Carolina and Arizona. Friday is voting day!
- Random Acts Postcards: Thank you for all of you who took a minute and sent me a postcard with your name and address. It has been such fun receiving them in the mail. If you haven't done it already, it's not too late. My mailing address is 4012 Harvestwood Court, Grapevine, Texas, 76051. Anyone who submits has the chance of being the luck recipient of a random act of kindness. Thanks again!