When I started the journey to have coffee with 52 new people in 2018, I thought it was a neat idea to meet new people and expand my network. I really did not consider the extent of impact and meaning of each coffee. After just the first coffee a few weeks ago, I realized that this journey was more important than consuming a bunch of caffeine and acquiring new business cards. I realized that people want to connect on a deeper basis. People actually want to know more about you and share their life journey and story. The amazing thing I have realized is that people are willing to do all this with a complete (or almost complete) stranger. This realization is game changing. It’s life changing.
The realization that a stranger is willing to open up to another stranger about their life has caused me to take a step back and reflect more deeply about these coffees. This isn’t just sharing coffee. This is sharing life. This is sharing journeys. This is sharing struggles. This is incredible.
This takes me to coffee #5. I am omitting the name of coffee #5 intentionally because I do not think it is my place to force this person to share their story publicly. The story was a true illustration of raw transparency. An incredible example of how a 30 minute conversation can be inspirational and encouraging. I asked my standard question about one “thing” that has influenced their life and led them to where/who they are today. I was not ready for the response. It’s actually taken me over a week to reflect upon the response and write this article. This individual shared their darkest moment in life. This individual shared their difficult journey through debilitating panic attacks. This individual shared how, at one point in their life, it was a “win” to be able to successfully enjoy dinner in public without having a panic attack. Several years later, after a difficult road to recover, this individual was having coffee with a stranger sharing their story.
We live in an increasingly divided world. A world infiltrated with hate and divisiveness. A world where social media has calloused our ability to interact on a deeper level. Do not let your beliefs or preconceptions deter you from meeting new people and learning their story. Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone has inspiration to give. Give people 30 minutes. Ask meaningful questions. Learn from a stranger’s struggles and victories. You can make an impact. Every day you can make an impact. From the cashier at Walmart to the coffee at Starbucks. You can impact a person’s life through transparency and rawness. Please, be raw. Rawness is inspirational.