Things Change. I change.
Hey Alex, would you like to come to our investor’s meeting next week?
– Yeah, sure. What is it about?
It’s a private event for entrepreneurs and investors from British Columbia. People come from Vancouver, Kelowna and even fly in from Toronto and Montreal.
– Sounds interesting. Tell me more.
We usually have two-three businesses, pitching their ideas or seeking investments. However, it’s more of a networking event for investors.
– What’s the dress code?
– Ok, sign me in.
The meeting took place in a local fancy resort. A large room with 5 desks and bartender on the back. I was one of the first people to come. There were mini notebooks with pens on each table. What caught my attention is that pens were not the cheap plastic ones, but heavy metal pens with the logo of the event. Each cost probably over $20. The young bartender on the back is wearing suit pants and while dress shirt. Jin, rom, whiskey, wine… On the side, the waiter just brought grilled shrimp and mozzarella-tomatoe kebabs. This is interesting.
People started coming in and the event started. Old gentleman stood in the front of the audience and made a speech. Everyone listened carefully. No talks, no whispers, no phones, no nothing – silence. It was obvious that this gentlemen held a lot of respect.
There were only about twelve people and I was one of them. It seemed as if I was a grandson of one of the guests. Bartender poured me a glass of red with so much respect that I almost felt bad for him. All drinks and food is free.
There were three presentations that night. First was a lady from the local hospital, thanking for the investments that allowed them to buy some crazy expensive equipment. Second was a young man, presenting his web-based business. And to conclude – the old man, raising money for his coal mine. That old man was the business owner of a billion dollar coal mine, however he was so nervous talking that it seemed that he could burst into tears any second. Impressive.
I felt as if I was on a “Shark Tank” show, however I was sitting among the sharks. All the presenters were exceptionally good. They knew what they were talking about. Nobody did pull out their phones and everybody in the room paid close attention to the presenters. Everybody was talking in a different language – the business terms. I have a masters degree from one of the USA high ranking business schools, however a few times I caught myself thinking that I had no idea what they were talking about. I understood most of the talks, however when it came to coal and mining – I got totally lost.
Smart, logical educated questions – the audience was asking presenters. Wow! What an experience I thought several times to myself. I felt myself as the dumbest kid in the classroom. Despite being uncomfortable AF, I managed to ask the presenter a very good question. A few hours later, one of the investors said that it was a very good question to ask.
My friend presented me as a very smart guy from Toronto, who works on autonomous cars.This sparked people’s attention and it became easy to start a conversation. I spent time talking to a man who owns the biggest heavy lifting drone company in Canada and the USA. I talked to the owner of a local real-estate agency. People were wearing golden rings with rocks.
Waiter kept on bringing the food and bartenders kept on pouring the grasses. I made an interesting observation: nobody in the room shied away from shaking hands. Every person I got introduced to, immediately shaked my hand and smiled. It seemed as though nobody cared about the virus. I guess green papers were the best antidote against it. No masks, no social distancing. However, all supporting staff: bartenders and waiters were all wearing face coverings.
Four hours later the meeting was over. I had scheduled two meetings and five business cards in my pocket. I felt exhausted… What an experience!
How come did I end up in such a place? A guy from nowhere, no job, no connections – among some of the most successful people of BC. Forget the investors meeting. All other meetings that I’ve had over the course of 5-6 weeks… I realized that for the past several weeks I was meeting totally different people, from what I used to be surrounded with. I was in a different world – another planet. People in my circle were driven and enthusiastic. No more did I feel as I was “too much”. My ideas were welcomed and my pace was matching the pace of those I met. They picked my thoughts on the fly and I didn’t have to explain or repeat myself twice. Because the people around changed, I knew I was changing. Something in me was different and this “different” attracted different kinds of people. What is it?
I went deeper and I realized that no longer did I have doubt in myself. For some reason I had this strong faith in me. I was calm and I believed that no matter what – I will figure things out. I felt as if I was doing the right thing. My startup – was exactly what I was supposed to be doing. My ideas were legit and innovative. I was finally among “my peers”. We spoke the same language. We had high energies. We all were motivated and driven.
Things seem to be aligning in my favour. I got whatever I needed. The Universe was taking care of me – its favourite pet. Whatever questions I had – the answers showed up. All I needed to do was to ask exactly what I needed to know and wait. Some answers came sooner, some later. I got the opportunities to show myself at work. I got exposed to all kinds of people from different industries and a variety of backgrounds. This layoff in May could be the best thing that ever happened to me. Life was guiding me somewhere in places I haven’t been before. I saw the path under my feet change. The scenery was different. I was different. Not better or worse, but different.