Stranger 12, Day 12 – Meet Joe, the “Aspiring Impact Maker”

Stranger 12, Day 12 - Meet Joe

So I stumbled on today’s Stranger at Starbucks… I know what you’re thinking – “wow, another from Starbucks?” Well, yes and no. I actually had a sales call to make at a Starbucks in Buckhead. As I typically do, I got there a bit early, and as I was scouting out this new locale, I saw a man watching a Champions League game on his phone (that’s a European club soccer tournament for those who don’t know).

We struck up a quick conversation about soccer, and it dawned on me that he could very well be my “Stranger of the Day”, so that’s how this went down.

Meet Joe, 23

Who are you?

For a quick second, I’m starting to really love this question. People are thrown off by such a broad question. Though, Joe was a little quicker to react…

“I am a recent college grad seeking to have a positive impact… and I’m trying to figure out the best way to do that.”

Then, Joe laughs adding, “currently in investment banking, though.” He notes that’s probably not the long-term play.

What are your passions and dreams?

“At some point in my life do something that is positive and impactful… do what I can to figure out what that is right now.”

When I pressed Joe to learn more as to why he felt the need to help others, he responded, “growing up, I’ve had a lot positive influences in my… people who have done a lot of neat things.”

Joe then shared his thoughts on the countless numbers who “just go to work, go home, go to bed… go work, go home, go to bed…” For Joe, he wants to find a purpose and meaning for his life.

What was a “neat thing” someone did for you? Something that shaped who you are today?

“That’s a good question…” (Just wanted to point out he said it… yes, I need an ego boost sometimes.)

“When I was in 7th grade, I had a devastating knee injury. At the time, I played every sport under the sun. They told me that I may not be able to play sports again, let alone walk correctly. I had a doctor who… went above and beyond everything. He took far more appointments than I was supposed to. He did a lot of work to help me get back to where I wanted to be… somebody who went really went out of their way to help somebody when they saw somebody who was in need, and saw they could be impactful. He was somebody I could admire.”

Joe continued to tell me how his family was the biggest driver of positive influences as well as his coaches and friends who were very supportive.

Have you had a big life regret?

“I really don’t think I have anything that I regret. Every life decision for me has played out for me… Right now, I’m very happy with my life. It’s a blessing.”

Has there been a Life-Defining Moment for you?

“One of the most defining moments of my life… one of my absolute best friends in life, my sophomore year in high school was diagnosed with a rare cancer that gave him a less-than-10-percent chance of living.”

“My friend group and families around just came together really, really closely, and helped him with anything he needed and his family. I think seeing that cohesiveness and the power of just positive thoughts when people come together and how powerful that can be going forward. That’s really shaped me going forward.”

“He’s still with us today!” Joe happily exclaims.

Is there a great Life Lesson you’d like to share with everyone?

Joe thinks about this for a moment.

“Something I try to remember in my day-to-day… just to always give people the benefit of the doubt, and look for the good in people. If somebody cuts you off in traffic, it’s easy to start swearing, but everyone has their stories. Try to look past that, and look for what good things people can bring to the table.”

Joe adds, “If you do that, it’ll keep you in a happier and better state of mind, and you’ll ultimately live a happier and more successful life.”

How do you take failure? (Thanks to Christian, Stranger 11)

“I try to take failure, and… I’m pretty analytical, so I like to go back and… really ponder it. What did I do wrong? What caused it? And I try to reverse it and eliminate that error on anything that I do. I try not to dwell on anything because I know there are a lot of things that can cause failure.”

I asked Joe for an example to which Joe talked about one of his first tests in college having “bombed it”. He recognized his “going out all the time” and the like were the causes.

Then, Joe dives a little deeper in identifying relationships. “Taking the other person for granted, or you’re not putting yourself out there like you should.”

What would you like to ask tomorrow’s Stranger?

“What is their strongest motivating factor in life? What is it that not necessarily is a life goal, but when times get tough, what is it that you try to remember and say to yourself to keep you going?”

After the handshake.

I was actually turned down a couple times prior to asking Christian an hour earlier — one wasn’t up for the picture while another was in a rush but wished she could’ve. So it was nice to be able walk around, notice someone with a similar passion to myself (soccer), and be able to start a conversation. I wasn’t sure if Joe would be up for it, as he needed to get back to the office. However, he was certainly willing to give a go, and I’m happy for it. Also, he happens to sit 5 feet from one of my old MBA classmates. Like I said, small worlds.

As I noticed in the interview, Joe was looking for his purpose and his why. “How great!”, I was thinking as I had just finished Simon Sinek’s Start With Why. Believe I even shared this with another Stranger already. Already, I’m finding a trend with Strangers, especially with those a little younger… there are usually no regrets and a passion to do well for others. Granted, this was only Day 12, so the sample size is quite small. However, I’m getting this vibe from many others I’ve met, not necessarily through this journey.

Joe even admitted that he wasn’t very “camera friendly”, but was happy and eager to be a part of this. How great is that? To have so many others be open for something they aren’t normally…?

Meet Joe. No longer a Stranger.

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