Today I was thinking about my wonderful friends and how they often also serve as mentors, or help me make an important connection that comes just when I need it.
But what if you went out seeking those types of connections or mentors?
And spent time meeting with them and reflecting on what you learned?
That is exactly what Megan Gebhart is doing with her inspiring 52 Cups project.
I talked with her today and asked her for suggestions for others trying to make connections or wishing to start a similar project. She had some great advice about how to get started.
- Think about what you are really interested in and what you might want to learn more about.
- Start locally. Ask friends or relatives for suggestions about who might be interesting to talk to about that topic.
- Write up your interview and what you learned.Focus on a 500 word reflection about what was learned. Don’t retell the other person’s story.
Reaching out to new people is worthwhile in itself, but writing her reflections on what she learned from the people she spoke with really made the difference. It added value in three* ways.
- It immediately helped her process and summarize the take-away from each conversations.
- Writing gave her the ability to look back at what she learned at a later date and have a record of her journey
- Blogging allowed for even greater sharing and connection.
Megan also had good advice for those of us who are more fainthearted about our writing and publishing. She reminded me that just because she had made a very public, and beautifully written blog, that isn’t what everyone needs to do. There would be great personal benefit just from reaching out, making new connections and reflection even without the public blogging dimension of the project.
Megan felt that having a clearly defined project that was accessible helped in setting up the coffee meetings. She only asked people for a small amount of time and she could refer people to the blog.
She, must have been reading my mind, when she said one could consider 26 cups or some variation, instead of 52. Although I might be tempted to shortcut, I think the weekly, regularity would really be powerful.
As we ended our conversation she said,
..you won’t know what to expect, what connections will come from each meeting. Just be open to the possibility of finding mentors, friends and a life changing experience.
If you have not read her blog, please do.
And consider reaching out to have come cups of coffee of your own.
*( 4th reason to write: update 2014: And now, you can get her book! )