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Coffee changed my life

Posted by: Greg Stowers
Posted: January 7, 2020
Categories: Professional Development, Networking & Social, Civic Engagement

Coffee has indirectly played an incredible role in my development, but guess what? I’ve had one cup of it my entire life and honestly, it was an overrated experience (I can be found with an assortment of teas ranging from rooibos to oolong in the morning). While many of my peers can be found somewhere on the spectrum of enjoying it or needing it, it’s never been my thing, but it has served as a vehicle for next steps, new ideas and new perspectives.

Photo courtesy of Greg Stowers.

Over the past four years, there have been numerous opportunities that have presented themselves, thanks in part to more than 100 “coffee” meetings. I worked out details for Hashtag Lunchbag activations, met with future employers and most importantly connected with like-minded people looking to do awesome things around Indy.

I joined organizations like the Exchange at the Indianapolis Urban League to provide new ideas and perspectives to an already talented group of young professional leaders. It has been a ride – no doubt, and while success may look like more of a jungle gym than a ladder for our generation, the challenges have been made easier thanks to the importance of building relationships.

While coffee plays an important role, IndyHub has created an innovative space for young professionals to grow here in Indy. Various initiatives and programs have worked to engage and expose young professionals to the many new places and ideas going on in Indy. I’m still in touch with several of my 1828 Project classmates and we’ve helped each other on a number of projects throughout the years.  I’ve enjoyed taking part in various forums and programs, but it’s the personal connection with people I’ve met through IndyHub that reaffirms the work being done on a daily basis.

Brene Brown defines connection as, “the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” Whether it was the email after a tough night in 2016 to midday calls about inclusivity, IndyHub – specifically IndyHub staff members – continue to provide a space to make meaningful connections for people around Indy.

Photo by Tessa Tillett Robbins Photography.

As we dive into 2020, I hope you’re putting goals on the board, but also dreams – goals are just dreams with deadlines my friends. I’ve looked for increased accountability in this regard, not only writing goals down for myself, but sharing them with others.

I hope you’re surrounding yourself with genuine relationships, not just transactional ones.

I hope you’re finding mentors, but also mentoring others. For the young OG’s like us, its never too early to help others, you never know how telling your story or sharing your ideas can help the next generation.

Although I can’t say that every coffee meeting is going to change your life, taking the time to invest in building relationships and genuine connections is a great place to start.

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