When I was at the look out for like-minded people in my home town Frankfurt about 5 month ago, I decided to try out meetup.com, a community website that helps you connecting with people in your area who share the same interests.
At that time, I just finished my Bachelor in Business and felt that all of my friends from University headed towards another direction than I…ending up in consulting, investment banking or HR didn’t feel very tempting – to be honest, it was so unattractive that I didn’t even fell enthusiastic enough to accept two offers from distinguished companies for an internship after my Bachelor. I just applied in order to satisfy my sense of responsability. I was definitely a minority among my peers…so I searched on meet up for entrepreneurship and/or personal development groups in order to get to know people who would be hopefully different and with whom I could exchange ideas about start-ups and personal growth – two fields that have caught my attention 3 years ago and haven’t let got ever since.
I was not surprised that I couldn’t find any group for these sorts of interests in Frankfurt – after all it’s a banking city where you see more suits & ties than on Wall Street during lunch break. Now don’t get me wrong – Frankfurt is a wonderful place to live in, in fact it’s very high ranked on the list of cities with the best life quality worldwide. But you won’t find all too many people who will think outside the box (corporate career, family, house) or take too many risks – which is partly because of the german culture! Accuracy, Savety and Punctuality. Prost!
Go for it!
All of a sudden, I saw the red button which said “start your own group”….why not? I thought to myself and just clicked it. After all, meet up is a huge community and there should be at least some people who are ineterested in entrepreneurship and/or personal development. What I hoped to find? People who would actually question the mainstream beliefs. People who would live these beliefs. People who would inspire me to do the same.
This is how “shaping the unconventional path” meet up group was created-the name of the meet up group also inspired the name of my blog. The first meet up started unconventional and not really smoothly. The place I picked was closed recently! So we had to find another place nearby. Fortunately, we found an italian place not far way from the initially planned place. On the way, I chatted with my first “unconventional minds” and navigated people to the new meeting point who arrived late at the initial place. Finally, when everybody arrived, we were 15 people and I gave an intro about myself and the purpose of the group. I was so curious! The people were very different..some were students, some were professionals, some were starting their own company, some were exchange students who just arrived in Frankfurt. But the best about the first meet up – I found a like-minded friend who also became my first business partner! The first out of 4 currently.
The second meet up brought 20 people together at a cozy bar/restaurant at Berger Straße called Rink’s. New and old faces, inetersting conversations – I didn’t prepared any structure which was a good idea. I managed to talk to everybody for at least 15 minutes. At this meet up I met another like-minded person who later on became a friend and business partner! Furthermore, a new friend attendet who I stumbled upon on the internet – a very vibrant, dedicated, original writer, expat and passionate salsa dancer from Frankfurt – our team was complete! I couldn’t believe that this amazing team was created by a simple click on the meet-up button and the further happeings after that.
The number one lesson I’ve learned so far: You really have to go out and search for the people you wish to have in your life! If you wish to find people who inspire you, you have to search actively for them since they won’t just fall down from the sky…or let’s say, sometimes they do – nice coincidence…but it’s easier to find them yourself instead of waiting for them to find you.
The next 2 meet ups were even more fulfilling than the first two. The “core” people came back while new unconventional minds kept signing up and showing up. Apart from one experiment where I threw in some questions in order to enforce the idea exchange, I kept the structure very random…people just came together and exchanged their experiences and ideas on personal development and entrepreneurship as well as culture and travel as it turned out to be a very international mix of people.
In the end, it was one of the best unplanned decisions I made this year…I met my current team…..interesting people, shared inspiring conversations with remarkable people and most of all: gained the insight that you have to search actively for like-minded people you want to have in your life! The people we surround ouselves with, are the people who shape who we become…so it a huge value to search for those people…and if you can find these people in Frankfurt, you can find them everywhere!