What Brings Us Together?
Earlier this month, my UCLA Anderson Class of 2003 celebrated our 15 year Reunion. It was a wonderful weekend catching up with old friends, reminiscing about our times together, and creating new memories to last a lifetime.
As we had done at the time of our 5 and 10 year reunions, our class smashed the attendance record for prior 15 year reunions. It got me thinking and having a few discussions around what was it that made us such a closely knit group. There are some ideas that I thought you can be conscious of in your own lives:
The Upside of Adversity
Our business school class started in September of 2001, just one week before the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11. As we came to find out in those early days, many of us had just moved to LA from the east coast, and were related to or very close to people who were directly affected. I sat in my living room early that morning desperately trying to get ahold of my brother, who worked in the WTC. To this day I appreciate more than I can express the support that was given to me by two friends that morning who I had only met a few days before. As anyone who has been through trauma can tell you, the experience changes a person forever. Do not underestimate or forget about the bond that occurs between people who help each other through tough times. Needless to say, we’re still friends to this day (and luckily my brother was late to work at Tower 1 that morning).
What’s YOUR Plan?
We all get busy. It seems like there is no time to catch up with your network. And there isn’t unless you do something proactively about it. You don’t need a 50 page strategic plan, but 10-15 minutes of planning can go a long way.
a) Make a list of people you would like to reconnect with (friends, business contacts, family members)
b) What’s the amount of time and types of touch points that make sense for YOU? g. One business networking related lunch and two phone calls to catch up with an old friend each month
c) Looking at a) and b), reach out and set up the next month (or two if you’re an overachiever) of activity.
Give without Expectation
The crazy thing is that when you do, good things generally happen back to you. So the challenge is to have a sense of gratitude, and to control expectations even though you know this now. I know I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity as Class President to have led the reunion efforts with my committee and bring so many friends together.