On Friday I met the man who changed my whole life.
It was just like any other Friday; a girlfriend and I had been crafting and sipping chardonnay at one of my favorite spots in Austin, CRAFT. (If you live in Austin and have any sort of creative tendencies or aspirations, I highly recommend you check it out).
We wrapped up our girl talk, our greeting-card-making, and decided it would be wise to find some dinner. After settling into some brisket & cheddar loaded fries (Austin-living, ya’ll!) I noticed him sitting a few tables away.
With the hat on, it was hard to be sure, but after a few minutes of stealthy gawking, I was convinced.
It was definitely Tim Ferriss.
And there was no chance in hell I was going to pass up talking to him.
If you’re new to The Bold Life Movement, or me in general, I'll keep it brief: In 2013, I read Tim’s first book, The 4 Hour Work Week, and almost instantly my whole life was different.
“People will choose unhappiness over uncertainty.”
I started obsessing about moving abroad and creating a life that more resembled my dreams (living on an island, working a mere 4 hours a week) vs. my nightmares (driving an hour to and from an office, working 14 hour days, dealing with irrational and irate clients). The sad fact was that at the time, my life looked a LOT like the latter.
As a project manager for a web-agency, my primary client at the time was a global hotel chain, owned by our current president….if that gives you any sort of idea….
But once I had been exposed to the 4 Hour Work Week, things started shifting. I focused my time on things that excited me, I learned about new ideas and connected with people who shared my new-found values.
And within a VERY short time (4 months to be exact) I had quit my job and was on a plane headed for Barcelona, Berlin, and eventually Southeast Asia.
I spent almost 2 years living all over the world, all because of a book I’d read.
I dated radically different people than I had been meeting back in my hometown. Entrepreneurs, world travelers, Australians(!) At the time this felt very novel...
I learned about things like e-commerce, and blogging, and travel hacking. All because of a book I’d read.
This foray into Entrepreneurship has since led me to so many experiences, relationships, and professional paths that I never would have known had it not been for Tim’s book. And, equally as important, this new trajectory would not have come to fruition had I not taken immediate, bold action on this new knowledge I had, and the fire burning inside me to make some serious changes.
So, as you can see, there was no chance I was not going to approach.
But what the flip do you even say to the person who changed your whole life? How do you show a reasonable level of gratitude while still treating this person like a human being, and not a deity of mythical proportions.
If you’re me… you serve up a cocktail of self-deprecating humor, appreciation for his work, and a few mutual interests or friends.
In the end, Tim (who was dining alone, and I am apparently now on a first-name basis with) was more personable than I could have hoped.
I gave him the 10-second version of how his work had impacted my life, I name-dropped a few common friends to imply proximity, and when it felt right, I told him about exciting things happening for the business (which wouldn’t even exist without the aforementioned book…you see how this works).
This brazen approach is exactly how I originally connected with the mentors and influencers in 2013 who played very pivotal roles in the up-leveling of my life, and the creation of my business(es).
By ignoring my fear of rejection, and refusing to put anyone on a pedestal, I’ve been able to connect with people who inspire me time and time again.
Sometimes these exchanges are brief, and seem like they won’t lead to any longterm connection, but later they turn into lucrative podcast episodes.
Some of these attempts have garnered me new friends (and even family), invaluable mentorships, speaking opportunities, and more.
There’s nothing hard about what I employ, and it’s something you can do in your life and in your business too. Believe me when I say this: nurturing your network is SO important. Equally as important as learning marketing, or copywriting, or getting your website up.
Here are some ways you can apply what I did in my recent introduction to your life and business:
First and foremost, take advantage of opportunities to connect with people that you find impactful.
I’m not implying you should stalk everyone out and interrupt them during intimate meals. Read the room, use your social acuity. In the case of our friend, Tim Ferriss, he was dining alone, and I was sure to be brief.
Seize the opportunities without overstaying your welcome.
Here are some really easy ways to seize potential chances to connect with influencers:
- Go to their book signings or workshops
- Join their livestream Q&As and ask questions
- Buy their courses (especially if they include 1:1 or group calls)
Remember we’re all just humans
I won’t sit here (cappuccino in-hand) and pretend that I wasn’t nervous to walk up to a world-famous author and attempt to be memorable.
Of course I was.
But what helps me in these situations is to remember that (like everyone else in the world who has found success) he is but a human, and (like a lot of authors) he is an introvert. Meaning, if he doesn’t wrap me up into a hug and insist that I join him at his table-for-one and share my entire journey since reading the book, I shouldn’t take it personally.
Remember to treat these individuals like you would want to be treated.
Would you want to hear the impact of your work on someone’s life? Probably.
Would you want each person who approached you on the street or at a conference to launch into a 20-minute monologue about the effects of your work, before asking if he/she can send you their manuscript (a mere 100,000 words) and would you have a looksie? pretty please? Probably not.
Alleviate your anxiety by remembering that we all came into this world the same way, we all sit on the toilet the same way, and we’re all just here doing the best we can.
And increase your odds of connection by remembering the golden rule; treat he or she as you’d want to be treated in the same situation.
Or even better, treat someone as they would want to be treated.
Play the long game
One thing that I’ve seen pay off time and time again, is a willingness to play the long game. To avoid making the much-desired ask on the first meeting.
If you can position yourself as a supporter, a peer, and most of all, a person of genuine interest and service you’re much more likely to connect deeper over time.
A great example of this is my favorite Youtuber, and spiritual teacher JP Sears. When I first met JP he was attending a Tony Robbins event, and spent much of his downtime taking selfies with fans.
Knowing that I would someday like to have him on the podcast, I avoided taking a picture with him and instead kept our encounter brief, light, and assumed the position of 'future friend' over 'die hard fan.'
After the event ended, I released a JP-Sears-Inspired video about ‘How to Have an Ultra Spiritual Re-entry After Unleashing Your Power Within.’ My intentions with the video were two-fold:
- I just thought it would be really freaken fun!
- I knew if I posted the video and tagged JP in it, there was a chance he’d watch it, and I’d be back on his radar.
Both proved true, and at the time of writing this, I’ve interviewed JP twice for The Bold Life Movement Podcast. Here is the Episode from Season 1.
Whether you’re looking for book endorsements, podcast guests, a mentor, etc. this can be applied. Bide your time, be creative, come from service and know that typically the long game pays off.
Connections can be the most fruitful investment you make in your business (and in your life). There's an art to being strategic and staying genuine, but it's nothing that even the most introverted person can't master.
Have a similar story? Tell us about it in the comments below!