I use coffee as an excuse to meet up with other entrepreneurs. People think I’m obsessed with coffee, but in reality… I just love the coffee date opportunity and building meaningful relationships. In a recent date with the one-and-only, Meagan Newell, I asked her WHY connecting with others is so important in life. She told me some awesome, but strange analogy of an airplane and missing flights. The light bulb went off and I demanded that she tell YOU all about that concept. I know you’re going to love this one! So, without further adieu… here is Meagan’s article titled, “Missed Connections.” – Amanda
It’s a beautiful morning, not a cloud in sight. You wake up to the intoxicating scent of fresh coffee. You note that little industrial hand clap of praise over your organizational prowess, thanking God for the invention of the coffee timer (or Keurig, or pour over…whatever ignites your little imagination to follow this story).
You begin your morning routine with that precious jolt of caffeine and one last glance over the “to do’s.” Everything seems to be in order. Tickets printed, chargers packed, extra undies hidden in Coach clutch for the rare baggage claim fiasco. (We’ve all been there.)
Your flight leaves in 3 hours and bags are by the door. You breathe a sigh, mentally applauding your personal efficiency, and prepare to leave.
You step outside to a glorious sunshine, not a cloud in the sky. The perfect day for flying. You’ve flown this trip so often that it’s become routine. Your ride arrives on time and you settle in, not a hair out-of-place, for an effortless day of travel.
You’ve done your part. You’ve organized, you’ve prepared, you’ve arrived. You breeze through security with an expertly ordered carry on. You make it to your gate with steaming Starbucks in hand and fifteen minutes to spare.
And then the announcement is made…
“We’re sorry folks, but it looks like our flight will be a bit delayed this morning. We should be up and out in about an hour. Please see the desk for any missed connection arrangements.”
“YOU FOOL! Your little plane isn’t coming. But we are going to pretend it is and then offer you an expired voucher to Red Lobster in order to appease your rage once your realize your fate in 9 hours.”
NO. No, this was not on the schedule, this was not in the plan! You begin to mentally calculate your running time to the connecting flight, slowly realizing Usain Bolt couldn’t make that plane, let alone your slingback Manolo’s!
Panic seeps in, building off the over-caffeinated high. You realize you have no choice. You have lost. It is over.
Missing that connection means you will never make it to your destination on time. So here you sit, slumped in defeat, stuck in a place you never intended to stay…
As humans, one of our strongest desires is CONNECTION. From the moment of conception, we are literally tethered to another human being. We were built to operate within community.
From a business perspective, connection is vital to growth and accountability. We need community to encourage and support. Without it, we can miss out on incredible opportunities.
To enhance the comparison, let’s dig into the flight analogy. When you arrive at an airport, you typically are aware of your intended destination. You’ve made all the proper preparations and are under the assumption that because of all your careful planning, you will end up exactly where you envisioned.
This can be similar in business. You’ve done the work, you’ve read the books, you’ve rocked the marketing plan. You have a specific vision in your mind of where you see yourself ending up, and have plans in place to make that vision come to fruition.
But sometimes, as entrepreneurs, we bury ourselves in the systems and steps. We fill our calendar with lists and post-its. We become single-minded in our mission, and in doing so, we lose sight of what really gets us to where we long to be.
Missing a flight connection is similar in comparison to missing a business connection. No matter how prepared or perfected your plan might be, if you miss that connection, it will always take you longer to get to your destination.
Think about it. That coffee meeting with a fellow entrepreneur could lead to a relational cheerleader that’s invaluable to your success down the road. That one phone call you keep avoiding could lead to a meeting that leads you to another meeting that leads you the one person who will skyrocket your dream.
There are 3 kinds of connections that prove so much worth when starting a business: The Mentor, The Cheerleader, and The Future. Allow me to expand…
Mentors should be an absolute priority when trying to build anything of substance. You need that coaching connection to drive your forward and help you dodge the potholes of life. Someone who will push you and motivate you, while giving you a safe space to be vulnerable about your doubts and fears on this journey.
Don’t have a mentor? There’s no time like the present to start the search! Take a look at the lives surrounding you. Are there any friends or acquaintances whose success you truly admire? Whose life reflects healthy time management, relationships, and business standards? Send that text, make that call, request that meeting! Start a connection with that person and see if they are open to a mentor relationship. Nine times out of ten, they are flattered and eager to do so. But it’s up to you to take that risk.
Everyone needs a cheerleader. Someone who is on your side, who encourages you and celebrates you through every success. You need that friend or fellow business owner who gets where you’re at, and runs that race beside you. The cheerleader connection creates movement and ignites passion when you feel lost in the midst of tasks.
Typically the cheerleader comes in the form of a friend or entrepreneur who is in a similar life place. Embrace this connection and use those coffee dates to uplift one another. So often, as entrepreneurs, we dismiss this relationship because it doesn’t “serve us.” We assume that because it is not necessarily business-minded, it holds no value. I can assure you, it is quite the contrary. When you are elbows deep in your fourth birthday cake order from the same customer who just CANNOT because little Johnny Whatshisname refuses to decide between Luke Skywalker and R2D2…trust me. You gonna need a girlfriend to talk you out of blessing little Johnny’s heart with a cake topper.
Finally, you need a future connection. You need someone to pour into, whether that be a younger entrepreneur you can link arms with and encourage, or a teenager in a youth group you disciple once a week. Business owners should walk with a heart of philanthropy and generosity. Whether you believe it or not, you KNOW something. You have value, you are important, and even if you haven’t “made it” yet, your life is worth sharing. What is the point of this journey if we aren’t bringing others along for the ride?
So seek out the coachable. Take them to dinner, text them encouraging words. Be future minded, always ready and willing to give back. Sowing that seed of time and spirit will reap incredible benefits in the future, I assure you. It takes the focus off of you, and it develops a selfless heart. Invest in the uninvested, love the unlovable. Treat the ones coming behind you as though they were already ahead, and watch what that does for your personal brand.
Missing a connection, not taking the time to invest in people, it simply slows your business down. You can’t accomplish a dream all by yourself, and quite honestly, you were never meant to. We were born to connect. We were built for community. Embrace the mentors, the cheerleaders, and the future leaders around you. Invite positive, healthy relationships into your life and into your business.
Just as a missed flight can ruin a dream vacation, a missed connection can ruin a dream life. So initiate the coffee, be intentional about the people God placed in your life. And just learn to love people, ya’ll.
Relationally, we’re all a bunch of panicked airport runners. But with a little connection, maybe, just maybe, we could finally fly…