Thursday, November 15, 2012
As readers of this blog have no doubt picked up by now, I've been traveling all over the country over the past few months. For most of my business career, I did very little traveling, so this is all pretty new to me. I'm beginning to learn some of the ways to manage the toll it can take on your body, and I'm also learning how to make the experience more enjoyable. The most important thing I can do to make a trip more fun, I've found, is to reach out to my large world of contacts and make a point of visiting them when I'm in their city. Sometimes this is just a lunch or dinner, and sometimes it might even include an overnight stay in their home. These visits give me the chance to renew old relationships and/or deepen new ones. Tonight was one of those experiences.
After I wrote my book last year, I was looking for someone who could help me with my marketing efforts. Through some internet research, I came upon a woman named Linda who was based out of the Houston area. We worked closely together for a number of months and she was awesome. As often seems to be the case with people I hire, we quickly became friends through the experience. Though I had never met her in person, we spent many hours on the phone together and exchanged hundreds of e-mails. Knowing that I'd be in Houston this month, I wrote to her to see if she might be available to meet for dinner, and she enthusiastically put it in her calendar.
This evening I got to enjoy having dinner with Linda as well as her husband, Ralph. What wonderful people they are and we so thoroughly enjoyed each other's company. Earlier this week, I was actually able to enjoy a similar experience when I had dinner in Minnesota with an old college friend who I hadn't seen in over 20 years. It was so great to reconnect with him and to build upon our previous relationship.
It takes a little extra effort and some initiative to reach out to people and coordinate the arrangements to make these connections happen. The result, however, is always worth it. It's interesting that so many people will say that relationships are the most important thing in their lives, and yet they don't make that extra effort to develop relationships further. I find that when I do so, I feel nourished and enriched by the experience. I suspect people are beginning to realize that when they say, "If you're ever in my city you should call me or come visit . . . ", I'm pretty likely to take them up on the offer!