5:00pm Thursday August 8th: I find myself walking the streets of Bangor Maine this evening, musing at the magic that brought me to this spot ( a little blog about a Lion) and taking a moment to soak it all in. And as I do this, my feelings of gratitude are palpable.
You see, I’m here to speak at the Bangor Daily News “What’s Next” Marketing Conference tomorrow and right now I’m using the opportunity to see a part of the world I’ve never seen, which is way better than locking myself in a hotel room over the next 48 hours.
This is an old town—one that, from the looks of it, was bustling at one point but has since fallen on tougher times. Notwithstanding, there seems to be seeds of rebirth as I walk through historical downtown and see the activities of the evening along with a mix of newer, more trendy businesses combined with older ones that have obviously been around for generations.
Although I’m not one to enjoy being alone often, I appreciate moments like this one. The architecture of the old buildings and the river running through town take my mind to a place of yesteryear, envisioning what life must have been like a century ago, letting the closet history buff within me smile with wonderment.
630pm Thursday: Time to walk back to the hotel. By this point, I’m hungry, but I haven’t stopped to eat anywhere. For some reason, I’m not much of one for a sit-down meal by myself, so I guess the hotel food will have to do.
As I’m walking back, to my pleasant surprise, I see a tall, shaggy haired fellow walking in the distance, and he too is alone.
It’s Chris Brogan, one of many people that have mentored me over the past 4 years since my online life began and someone I honestly think the world of. I smile at the serendipity.
After warm greetings, Chris and I decide to stop at the Zen Thai restaurant and enjoy a meal, along with his Chief Operating Officer, Rob, who joins us shortly thereafter.
For the next two hours, the conversations go everywhere. Yes, marketing and social media are intermixed, but more than anything we talk about growth, our families, our beliefs, and what brings us happiness.
I’m glad to be here, and feel very blessed to have the opportunity.
1am Friday: I think it’s time for bed. Client work is keeping me up tonight, but it’s good. I’m working in industries these days that are thirsting for some marketing innovations, and I’m hoping like heck something magical will come out of this, just as it did with River Pools and The Sales Lion, but only time will tell.
830am Friday: I’m watching Brogan give the opening keynote to the event, which is taking place under a tent. Although the setting is unique, and although there is downpour outside, the vibe is a great one, and Chris does as he always does by delivering a tremendous message.
1030am Friday: Just found out my flight was cancelled from Bangor and there are no more leaving on this day. Not good. As it is, I’m missing the opportunity to coach my daughter in a softball tournament tonight and need to make it home by 12pm tomorrow to be there for the final two games. Despite the setback, I find another flight out of Portland (two hours away)and make the immediate decision to rent a car.
1:45pm Friday: I’m giving my presentation and it’s a great group of about 250 business owners and marketers. Like always, I’m weaving in and out of the crowd and they are feeding me energy continually with their laughs, smiles, and bright eyes. It’s moments like this that I feel complete—on purpose—and doing the thing God put me here on Earth to do, which is teach and inspire others to reach their potential.
2:15pm Friday: The feedback after the presentation is wonderful, and, as always, I’m feeling so very grateful for the experience, once again sensing awe at what has brought me to this point.
2:30pm Friday: Let the journey begin. Time to fly down 95 south so as to catch my flight from Portland to Philadelphia.
5:30pm Friday: Thankful to have successfully made it on time and checked here at the airport, but we’ve just received word the flight is delayed. This may not be good.
7:30pm Friday: For the past 20 minutes, I’ve been on the phone with one of the parents on my softball team, Regis. We are playing a team we haven’t beaten in a long time, and the score is 0-0 going into the final inning. Regis is nervously giving me the play by play while I silently listen on from the airport. The other team’s bats finally get going and they manage to score 2 runs in the top of the inning. Things are looking, and sounding, bleak at this point.
After scrapping out a run in the bottom of the inning, we’re down to our final out with no one on base. My daughter Danielle is up, and knocks a clean hit to center field.
There is still hope.
The next batter gets walked.
Now it’s getting interesting.
The pitcher throws a wild pitch.
Now there are two outs with runners on 2nd and 3rd.
My little fireball shortstop, Savannah, is up to bat.
I’m cringing my teeth to hear Regis say what’s coming next…
Then, all of the sudden, all I can hear on the phone is wild screams of celebration.
Savannah managed a clean hit to the outfield and both runs scored.
We’ve won, 3-2.
A little tear forms in each eye as I imagine the scene on the field. These girls have worked so hard, and they enjoy it.
I’m a proud coach, and a proud Dad.
9:30pm Friday So here I set on the plane. Somehow, despite the weather, we made it out of Portland and are headed to Philly. Unfortunately though, I’ve missed my next flight, and in this moment I have no idea if I’ll be spending the night in the airport, waiting for the first available flight, or if I’ll be forced to rent a car tonight and drive the 7 hours from Philadelphia to my home in rural Heathsville Virginia.
But despite the pending obstacles that await, I’m happy. I’m smiling. And I’m overwhelmed with gratitude at the life I’ve been given…