Go to a bikers meeting. Or, if you’re not a biker, to a toastmasters meeting. Join a new group and see how you fit in. It may help if the group is centered around some of your passions, of course. It will reveal a lot about your social skills.
We’re designed to act and live in a social environment. If we withdraw for too long from this social layer, things will start to break up inside. We function better when we can freely exchange our energy with other people.
It’s not only about seeking new friends, although this is most likely to be one of the consequences of joining a new group, but mostly about what your contribution to this group would be. What you can offer.
Sometimes, a new group will reveal more about your own hidden identity that you want to believe.
The Story Of Open Connect
Around 2 years ago I was bit of a hermit. I’ve never been very good with groups, although, somehow, I was always in the spotlight (especially when I didn’t want to). At that time I was working in coffee shops (mostly Starbuckses) and floating around as a consultant, blogger, author and all-round nice guy. And it was really nice for a while.
Until, one day, I decided it’s not enough. I thought: what if I would bring together all the people with whom I always meet here, but not sequentially? Like, you know, all at the same time? I talked to the coffee manager and asked her if it was ok to hold a little event there. She agreed, to my surprise. Then, I posted an event on Facebook and invited 200 of my friends (at that time I had around 3500 Facebook friends). And then I waited.
The Thursday of the event I went into that Starbucks as always, took my tea (although I was working in a Starbucks, I didn’t drink coffee) and looked around. To my surprise, more than 60 people attended. The coffee shop was full. And I didn’t event tell them what the event was about. It wasn’t about something specifically, as a matter of fact, it was just networking.
We talked for like an hour and at the end we decided it would be nice to have some presentations. Like, in form of a pitch, if possible. I put everything we talked into the description of the next event, posted it on Facebook, and waited. Next Thursday, the same number of people (although, not the same as the first time) showed up. And we had pitches.
From this moment on, it snowballed. It grew into something I often perceive as surreal. That’s how big it got.
I won’t bore you with other tiny details, I will just give you some numbers.
- The Facebook group grew from 200 to almost 5000 members. Real life persons. I met around 3000 of them face to face.
- We had 100 events in the last 2 and a half years.
- We held two bootcamps in the mountains.
- We had speakers from other countries, some of them world famous bloggers, like Steve Pavlina
- The event is now replicated in other 6 cities in Romania, with the same format.
- There are dozens of hours of video material generated by the events (we started to live broadcast around the event number 17).
- We have designated roles for each event: from feedback manager, to gamemaster and even timekeeper.
- We created, with he support of an investment team, a coworking and event venue in Bucharest, called Connect Hub, which happens to be my full day job nowadays.
- In this Connect Hub we organized international events with international speakers like Geshe Michael Roach (The Diamond Cutter fame) or Viggo Johansen.
And it all started from a tiny little group.
Think about it, next time you feel lonely and misunderstood.