The phrase ‘let’s have a coffee’ is synonymous with good conversation.Whether it be with a friend, mentor or colleague, it has launched millions of ideas, businesses and relationships. It’s so simple yet stirs up enormous potential.
For the time poor, a ‘coffee and chat’, is the perfect way to open new doors. Twenty minutes, that’s all it takes.
I always look forward to a coffee with a friend because, aside from the catch-up, I know I’ll walk away challenged or inspired.
Jerry Seinfeld developed a show – Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee – around his new-found love for coffee.
Small talk can lead to big ideas over coffee
“Eating is annoying and difficult to arrange… meeting someone for coffee suddenly seemed like a wonderful, compact, accessible and portable social interaction,” said Seinfeld.1
In the show he picks up comedian friends including Mel Brooks, Steve Martin and Sarah Jessica Parker, then drives to a favourite cafe to enjoy a brew while chatting about everything and nothing. It’s a simple concept – conversation and coffee – that leads to funny, interesting and often, meaningful discussions.
Ten Thousand Coffees, a Canadian company (birthed over a coffee), connects students, new grads and young professionals with industry experts in their field of interest, in potentially life-changing conversations, over coffee.
It started, as founder Dave Wilkin states in his company blurb, “less than 5 per cent of employees have access to mentoring and networking”.2
He met with Mia Pearson, a pioneer at fusing digital with traditional PR, and said he wanted to “better connect students and brands.”3
Pearson was interested in his idea. “I could feel an opportunity coming my way,” said Wilkin. “I was hoping that she would offer me a job. She looked at me across the table and said, ‘I’d like to hire you… but I’m not going to. You need to start your own company’.”3
So, he did… Ten Thousand Coffees is “designed to unlock opportunities that may not have otherwise been possible,”3 writes Wilkin. It gives ‘novices’ a chance to be mentored over coffee by ‘experts’ and the experts get to learn from the novices too.
This same model could be applied to optometry.
With the ever-increasing number of graduates joining the workforce, there is a need for young optometrists to be mentored – to be helped to develop professionally – by those who are more experienced.
If you’re a ‘novice’ and you can’t find an ‘expert’ within optometry, then diversify. Look outside your profession – dentistry, pharmacy, medicine, law, politics… even nutrition, journalism or marketing – to find a person who has the skills you need to help move your career and your personal life forward.
Be part of a life changing conversation. A 20-minute coffee meeting is all you need to kick-start the (im)possible.