The inside of an aluminum tube may be the most conducive writing environment for me. It’s um, pretty contained. There’s no WiFi (yet) or phone. Mostly, my mind is bursting at the front or back of a business trip. I arrived Saturday and hung with Dave, Georgia and Joe. It was great to see them. Joe is now six and he likes to play his GameCube. He’ll have a new game soon courtesy of our friends at the online store named for a river… or jungle. Flow of goods or mind-numbing warehouse? Whatever. Georgia and I caught up over some Greek takeout while Dave tried to enjoy his post-blender lemon soup. He’s on a liquid diet because the scarring from 20+ surgeries has left sections of his intestines the diameter of a straw. No, not that kind. Dave’s processing food through a straw like the ones they strand olives on in a martini. Yeah, like a straw, it sucks. I often think, “when is this nightmare going to end for this husband and father?” I quickly dismiss the notion because the answer is a Philbinesque final one. We’ll pass on that. Dave’s got quite a bit more to do.
The balance of the week was spent with a few hundred of my favorite co-workers in meeting rooms, restaurants and the lobby bar. The highlight was a bike odyssey organized by my friend, the fabulous Barb. Many of my co-workers, some in tears, stood in its conclusion to say it was the best team building event they’d ever attended. Yeah. Ever. It was for me.
With now over 20 years in business, I’m finally comfortable with the whole networking thing. Much of that gets done in the lobby lounge or even the Tiki Lounge if the venue is the Fairmont in SF. Anyway, while liquor does help many overcome the shy thing, it isn’t pretty when some reach, um, the tipping point. Yesterday I met with my team back at the field-described “Mecca” (corporate office). My advice was pretty simple: “When attending a group event like that Sales meeting, don’t be a jackass.”
Best line of the week in a meeting the morning after: “I’m not doing math in my head right now.”
It’s now Saturday. When the plane landed Thursday night, I arrived to a changed world. If I learned anything this week it’s that courage is necessary to change us from the inside and to handle it from the outside. I’m going to succeed at both.
Random note: No matter when “Gimme Shelter” comes on my iPod, I never skip it.