I’ve just returned from Pioneer Nation, a weekend-long summit for entrepreneurs who are up to big things. It was a weekend full of laughter, new connections and community. There was inspiration and tactics, strategy and sharing.
At the closing event, speaker Tara Gentile called upon all of us to make commitments about what we’re going to do from having attended the event. She then stepped off the stage into the crowd with a microphone and started asking attendees directly. You guessed it, she walked over and handed me the microphone asking “What about you, Charlie?”
And here I sit, the day after. In a post-conference inspiration hangover. See, I had been keeping my grand plans secret. If it’s secret, then no one will know if I DON'T produce the results. It would be easy to go home, excited with a “I know something you don’t know” cheshire-cat smile. And then, predictably, that smile would fade over the next week or two as I got mired back into my day-to-day as a coach, parent, volunteer and father.
The invitation to spend a weekend with amazing entrepreneurs, up to big things is like hopping on a train that’s leaving the station on a journey. This weekend I got to be on the train, to see what it looked like away from the train station of my life. The train station of life is quiet, predictable and we know it well. It’s a place of expectation. It’s where we wait. We quietly check our watch every few minutes, bags by our feet. We’re ready to go, but our train hasn’t arrived. There may be others on the platform, and what we all have in common is waiting. Waiting for a raise, a promotion, the job you *really* want, to go out on your own, to take it to the next level or to get out of your own way. If ONLY that train would come. But for now the waiting is all there is. There is anticipation and anxiousness. We look longingly down the track for the “right” message, the “right” thing to do or the “right” time.
This weekend my train came in. The train was breathtaking. It was huge, so tall and massive it seemed to block out the sun. Sleek and powerful, it glided into the station effortlessly. I was swept up as the train pulled out of the station, with the rush of movement and energy. I found my seat and was welcomed by new connections and stories. The shift of the passenger cars and groan of couplings was foreign and exhilarating. My bags from the station felt out of place, no longer seeming relevant for the ride I was on.
Soon after I had gotten on, the train conductor came through collecting tickets. In her blue cap and blazer, she paused in front of me expectantly, ticket-punch in hand. As we approached the next station, I realized it was the same station we’d just left. As the airbrakes started to hiss and the cars decelerated, the conductor asked, “What about you, Charlie?”
And this is how it goes. Trains will lift us up come from time to time. Maybe it’s a weekend conference, a TED talk, a brainstorm had while vacationing, an amazing conversation with coach or mentor, a retreat or the inspired story from a book we’ve read. We get wrapped up in a story of success and insight, grand reinvention. We allow the ride to elevate us off the ground and for a moment we are there too. We get off the train, loudly declaring “What a GREAT ride!” full of the best intentions to apply new tools, training or inspiration to our world. But back at the station, everyone knows the platform, not the ride. The distant “It was great to meet you”, and “I can’t wait to see where you’ll be in a year’s time!” from the train windows gets drowned out by distance and the noise of the train station.
If there’s a ticket to buy, now’s the time.
This year I will incorporate video coaching and training for coaches and entrepreneurs into my offerings and phase out one-on-one coaching in a year’s time! I don't know what it all looks like yet, but I just bought a ticket, just now, right here. And if this article has been a ride for you, where will you buy a ticket to?