Lessons Learned From the First 44 Days

Early lessons from my first 44 days on 100 Strangers, 100 Days… Why 44? Because I’m 23 days late. Whoops!

  • I have been rejected due to…
    • No time/ in a hurry: 4 times
    • Did not want picture taken/ shared: 5
    • Disinterested: 3
  • The project resonates with people in many different ways, especially the stories of the Strangers
  • Starting out, people kept saying this reminded them of Humans of New York. Didn’t know what that was, but after I checked it out, I can definitely see similarities. The team behind HONY is doing great. Just as many people have noticed, my approach is much different and my purpose is, too. I want this to go a little deeper into the Stranger.
  • Several Strangers have reached back out to me days after our initial meeting to share with me
    • How the post was received by others, especially their friends — some responses:
      • “I never knew I had so many friends!”
      • “My family and friends loved it!”
      • Long-lost friends who typically only see social media shares got to re-experience their friends as they are today bringing back lots of emotions and reconnecting with each other
      • Hundreds of social media “Likes” and “Shares”
      • Many comments to the individual’s posts
      • Many Strangers are GLOWING as they tell me how others spoke to them afterwards
    • How they wanted to think more about a few of the questions, and wanted to share their thoughts after much thinking
    • Not many people ask these “deeper” questions, and they feel invigorated and excited to be able to think about them, and share
  • I’ve had three Strangers ask for edits for what they provided (a couple other times because I mis-typed)
  • Four Strangers asked me questions back
  • I have several friends who have shared their answers to some of the questions because they wanted me to know about them
  • Several people (friends and others) have asked me if I would consider asking friends because they’ve realized they don’t know the motivations and passions of some of their friends. Instead, many of their conversations revolve around work, sports, or kids
    • Friends are asking their friends some of these questions to now get to know each other better
    • (My “Rules for Engagement” post will come soon)
  • One coworker said to me, “Daryl, I might steal your idea… not for 100 days, but for a few”. This, because he wants to make more connections with those around him. My response is that it’s not stealing… it’s not a project that I have some crazy keys to. Anyone can do it. That’s the beauty of this
  • Recording the interview vs. taking notes during the interview helps make the conversation flow better
  • I have thoughts and initial “wants” of where I want this conversation to go — namely, talking about passions and motivations. However, I want the meetings to flow more than they did earlier when I felt like it was too much like interviewing. So, I let the Strangers tell the story, and put me on the path they want to go down while I nudge them in the direction of where I think this project resonates with my own purpose. In many ways, this is like actively practicing persuasion and listening skills
  • I catch myself seeing some people all the time, and though, I feel they would be open to talk to me, I wait to. I wait to because I look at them as my “safety” Strangers for when I may be time-crunched or unable to find a Stranger (or get shot down a bunch). I look for more real cold Strangers as much as possible so I can have the “safety” Stranger who has seen me before for later
  • I do try to meet many Strangers in the morning so I do NOT feel the pressure later in the day of “oh, crap, I better find someone! Time’s running out!”
  • I’m still scared to approach Strangers
    • There are days when I’m walking around, and I see so many Strangers about. However, I’m scared to approach any of them because I’m acutely aware of being vulnerable to rejection or being thought of as a “weirdo” for making such a request to talk to me
    • I’m nervous talking to certain people. I’m trying to figure out exactly what and who, but a common “type” of person is the 20-something to 40-something white male. I’m feeling this odd “high school” feeling where I was intimidated by the popular jocks around school. I’m nervous of talking to them, and being ridiculed. That never really happened in high school, mind you; however, I never really put myself in that position. Movies had always had these “cool kids” on a pedestal while making me feel “inferior”. It’s a silly thing to think about now as I do mostly what I want, and I’m doing great. However, it’s a feeling that has been there from so long ago
    • I have caught myself looking at someone thinking, “now, that’s a weirdo”. It’s me judging them. I realize I’m judging them, and instead of judging them by their looks, I should get to know them — this has been great, and I hope to continue to hit home in me to stop judging others
  • 100 is a lot of people and a lot of days
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