Just Ask. . . . for a ride!
Last Friday, I had some routine maintenance done on my car. It was going to take longer than the typical oil change, so simply holing up at Starbucks next door for an hour was not going to work. With Carol out of town, I was left with three choices; walk the 1.5 miles from the Wayzata BP to my house (let’s be honest— that was never a consideration), call an Uber for the 1.5-mile trip, or try to find a ride.
I chose the third option, as it was an excuse to try a little social experiment and network at the same time. I put a post on Facebook that morning offering a cup of coffee to anyone who wanted to show up at Starbucks and have a conversation. . . . and then give me a ride home. A number of people commented, offering rides (some at 4pm that day, but I still appreciated it), and another reached out directly, saying he would pick me up on the way to a meeting. Others reached out saying they could not pick me up but would take me up on the coffee next week.
The most interesting response, however, was a call later that morning from a prospect. We had been talking on and off for the past year, trying to determine what he needed and when the timing felt right. He called to say he had just wrapped up a meeting and could pick me up if I needed a ride, but I already had made it back to my office. He then said: “Let’s meet next week. It’s time to sit down and talk about some things.” We set up the meeting, and I expect that we’ll finalize a coaching engagement as a result. My modern-day equivalent of hitchhiking will result in a new client (and a ride!).
This whole story simply illustrates a recurring theme; just ask! Put things out there. If you have a need, if you recognize some issue or deficiency that others could help you address, reach out to those who might be able to offer that guidance and support. Expanding the idea out, this is about connection. We are a tribal, social species. We thrive and do our best work (and feel most satisfied) when we are building relationships and bonds, solving challenges together, and working on the behalf of others to strengthen the tribe. Translation; people want to connect, help and be useful because it feels good.
So connect! Ask for help! Reach out to people directly, to a group, or en masse to ask for ideas, help, or just a conversation. You don't know when or why someone might want or need to connect with you, so the more opportunities you give them, the more likely those connections will happen. Find any excuse, even a silly one like being too lazy to walk a mile, to connect with your Circle of Influence. Use that excuse to strengthen your relationships, and your tribe.