I had my first cup of coffee at our senior class ski trip up in Iron Mountain Michigan in 1969. I learned that if you asked for coffee that it was refilled for free, rather than ordering the more costly hot chocolate. Coffee became a staple, and those that know me really think that there’s an IV attached to my veins. I can drink it at 10pm and sleep like a baby.

I grew up on Hills Brothers. My mom always had a pot on. We would sit for hours and chat. That three-pound red can a staple on the counter. The chats priceless.

I now enjoy a Venti, Dark, no room. The aroma, the taste, all good. But mostly it’s about the person on the other side of the table enjoying their cup.

In a Mashable article this week, the headline read, “Radio station invites 95-year old listener in for coffee after he calls to say he’s missing his wife.” She had gone into a nursing home and he was lonely. The radio station sent a cab to pick him up and provided a hug and a cuppa.

I was lonely too. I’ve been on my own journey of creating a new life, a new business and a new future for the past 18 months. Like the 95-year old there have been times of feeling lonely as I set up something new in my life. But, I’ve learned one important business practice.

It’s part of the 50 cups of coffee.

This 50 cup advice has been around for awhile. In What Color is Your Parachute, 50 cups of informational interviewing can get you a job. Mark Suster has a whole list of reasons why 50 cups works from recruiting to finding venture capital.

For me it was taking a positive step to meeting folks.

You know it’s hard for an “older” woman to meet people.

My prior position was national in scope and so I didn’t know anyone locally. I hadn’t any friends locally that I could meet for lunch, let alone coffee. Going to a bar is pretty ludicrous and I’d probably fall asleep before the conversation would get anywhere. Churches and gyms might work. But, for me it’s been the coffee shop.

Networking groups are amazing. I can’t thank my new friends in the Wisconsin Women Entrepreneur’s Group enough for having coffee with me. I still remember the first “coffee”. Rita was delightful in her invitation. We went to a lovely little bistro and she told me of her life, how her husband was so sick, how her business was doing. Over the aroma of a deep Sumatra, we learned how much we were alike. Coffee can do that.

In the past 18 months, I’ve had 39 cups of coffee with new friends. I’ve discovered that the simple act of inviting someone for coffee allows worlds of possibilities to open. I’ve partnered with many.

Recently, I’ve co-founded a new website and podcast for the nearly and newly retired, with my coffee buddy, Carol Larson. RetireeRebels.com would never have existed without coffee. (hope you’ll go to iTunes and take a listen, with your special cup.

I’ve learned where at least ten different coffee shops are in town, I’ve driven to new places in Madison that I’ve never seen before. It’s moved me out of my own little head space, this getting out and having coffee.

“You will be the same person in five years as you are today, except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

Charlie Jones

If our life is measured by the books and the people we cherish every day, then mine is indeed rich, like a Kenyan AA Extra Bold.

So if you’re around Madison, please give a holler. Looking out for those 11 more cups of coffee, before I make it a 100-cup goal.

So who can you invite for coffee this week? Maybe a 95-year old you know just needs a little cuppa love. Please let me know what you think of the 50 cups of coffee plan!