I had two pretty cool experiences that combined in an unusual way to become what I’m thankful for today. One was looking backwards to see where I’ve come from, the other giving me ideas for the future.
Early in the day I had to run to Target quick and as I was checking out I heard a very familiar voice say “Michael.” As I spun around the voice rang a bell in my head and my brain connected the dots when I made eye contact. “Mr. Brewer,” I said as I reached out to shake his hand. Bob was one of the first clients I used to work with when I first came to Express. He was the plant manager of our largest client and I learned a ton from my experiences with him. In working with him I learned the importance of open and direct communication. He also showed me how important it was to not dwell on service issues but to focus on immediately fixing them. All in all he is one of the people that had a big impact on my Express career.
Bob and I hadn’t seen each other in almost a decade. The first thing out of his mouth was “are you still with Express?” I went on to tell him about ownership and so on and he smiled and made a joke about buying “the big headaches.” As we talked about his retirement and recent trip out east I couldn’t help but smile. He was in a spot that I am very much looking forward to. After we left it really hit me just how far I’ve come over the past almost 17 years with Express. I thought of the 23 year old kid that he had worked with. The one who had dreams of ownership but never knew if it would really happen. It did!
Later in the day I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who is in his fifties and incredibly succcessful. One of those people that as you learn more about them you can’t help but admire and try to learn more from. As we were talking he shared an awesome dream that he’s in the process of making reality.
To set the stage, when Kid’s Cup comes around every year I’m pretty happy to raise over $1,000. I have ideas and aspirations for starting a non-profit organization (or several), but I haven’t done anything to kick start those dreams.
As we talked about his dream my mind was completely blown. He’s going to embark on a solo canoe trip of the Mississippi River from source to ocean. While on his trip he is raising money for a very noble goal that is incredibly close to his heart. Did I mention the goal he has? He is going to raise $2.5 million. Holy crap! There is no hesitation or fear in his eyes as he says it. He will make it happen. “I figure I just need 50,000 people to donate $50.” How awesome is that? As we talked he shared his plan, the marketing needed, working with the media, all the contacts that he was contacting, and so on. It was very clear that he had thought this out, started planning, and has already started working on it. Like I said, mind blown. As I had my little dream kind of flickering in the back of my brain he showed the power of thinking way bigger and stoking that flame to really get it going.
That’s why I am thankful for people who remind me to dream bigger today. In one case I had the base of reminding me that I am fully capable of accomplishing whatever I set my heart on. In the other a reminder of how big a dream really can be. Why settle for small when you can go for large? Go big or go home, right? I am also so thankful to have both of them in my life. We may not talk often or even see each other but once a decade, but they have left and continue to leave impressions on me that make me better.