12/52 Contact The Unreachable
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
We’ve all heard this. Now, you could be lucky enough to be born into a wealthy and successful family; A family of politicians, senators and billionaires. Maybe your mom is Arianna Huffington or maybe your dad is this guy.
The good news is that we all have the ability to start from scratch and build our own networks.
In the 4-hour work week Tim Ferris talks about how he promised the student who could contact the most hard-to-reach name and ask the most intriguing question a round-trip plane ticket anywhere in the world. Sweet deal right?
He explains: “I believe that success can be measured in the number of uncomfortable conversations you’re willing to have. I felt that if I could help students overcome the fear of rejection with cold-calling and cold e-mail, it would serve them forever.”
I love so much about that statement. Besides the few exceptions, the educational system doesn’t spend enough time taking life skills and personal development into consideration. But that’s a whole other conversation.
Below are a list of methods I've tried over time:
It's so simple and so obvious! This is my preferred way of contacting people because I can clearly state my reason for contacting them. This is how I’ve always preferred reaching out to people because they can get back to you in their own time without the pressure of you being on the other end of the line. Also, email is very much the preferred form of contact in the UK (in my experience).
Often times if you want to learn from someone I find that just dropping them an email asking if you can buy them a coffee does wonders. Other times, just starting with one specific question leaves space for conversation to develop. If I've not received a reply, I tend to follow up twice over the course of 3-7 weeks.
This is generally never my approach because people are busy and if you catch them at an off time you’re diminishing your chances of success. However for this challenge I decided I was going to make 10 phone calls to various people. Ringing the numbers made me nervous. Speaking to the receptionists was not always an easy experience but who says life is meant to be easy and comfortable right? On that note, have you heard of this guy? He's kinda a genius.
Tim Ferris recommends this website in his book. He says you can get the contact details for anyone. So I signed up for the 7 day trial and collected a bunch of addresses for those whose emails weren’t available. I sat down and wrote a letter to someone I really admire and would love to learn from. I think there's a huge difference between writing fan mail and writing a letter for the sake of building a possible relationship btw.
It's currently in the post. Will keep you post-ed.
4. Carrier Pigeon
One afternoon I chased down a couple of pigeons by Trafalgar Square. I continued to tie small scrolls from their feet before whispering the delivery address into their unidentifiable ears (I mean seriously, where the fuck are their ears!?). I would not recommend this method.
Okay maybe that didn't really happen. I just feel carrier pigeons should make a come back. Ya feel me?
5. Random Meets Ups
Sometimes you don’t even have to try or do anything and you just run into one of your idols randomly on a Wednesday afternoon.
6. Instagram DM
This works too.
When you contact someone don’t just ask for something. Genuinely show some interest and think of a good question to ask this person and use your curiosity. Building relationships is a marathon and not a sprint.
Finally, the worst case scenario is someone tells you to fuck off or ignores you. It's okay if that happens.