Showing up and Sticking around
It’s day 5 of a really intense work week. It started with back to back red eye flights to get me to Nairobi from Seattle. I landed at 6am on Monday, had my first meeting at 9am, and then another flight out to the coast at 2pm. I spent a few days in the field, flew back to Nairobi and went straight into a data sharing meeting hosted by the ministry of health. At the last minute, I was asked to give a presentation on Thursday of that week so I scrambled to get a preso put together. I gave the presentation and went straight to back to back meetings that lasted until 8pm that evening.
I mean damn y'all, that's....a lot. The friday agenda for the meetings had no real relevance to me so I went to bed Thursday night fully expecting to relax on Friday before starting my long 25 hour journey back home to Seattle.
When I woke up Friday morning I started thinking about how i’d spend my day. Maybe I’d visit the Nairobi national park and see a few giraffes (it's the only "urban safari" you can do in the world so there's that). Or do an Airbnb experience – I had my eye on a cooking class. I had earned some R&R after a grueling week. I thought about it for a moment, and started dressing not for an urban adventure or a day making ugali but rather a day in meetings that didn’t have much to do with me. I'd sit there, try really hard not to be bored and fall asleep. But I'd be present.
Within 10 minutes of showing up to the meeting, I was pulled aside by a friend who said “you need to talk to so-and-so. they loved your presentation from yesterday”. I talked to so-and-also and set up a demo for them. I then talked to the organizer of the conference and he literally said “i have budget to work with you more. i just need to know what you want to do with that money”. Throughout the day, I was pulled aside repeatedly. All in all, I set up 4 follow on meetings with different folks. All of whom would be new clients for us.
These were four very unexpected outcomes. And it was a reminder to me — getting on a plane (or in a car or whatever), just showing up, and sticking around is 3/4 of the battle.