Thursday, March 6, 2014

Operation Advance Winter 2014

Usually, I reserve this space for comments on things I've read. Today, it's about an experience.

If a person invited you to work really hard in order to spend your own money to travel, have lunch, go for a boat ride, and hang out for a couple of hours, would you do it?


What if the person was a self-made millionaire, who founded the company you're helping to build, who is the co-author of the best-selling Launching a Leadership Revolution, who owns an 8-acre estate on the inter-coastal waterway in Port St. Lucie, Florida?

Put it this way: if you loved basketball, would you be excited for a lesson from Michael Jordan?  If you loved driving, how about being coached for an afternoon by Mario Andretti?  Or a football passing clinic with Peyton Manning?  A flight lesson with Chuck Yeager or Bob Hoover?  SCUBA diving with Jacques Cousteau?

Right.  Different story, now, isn't it?  Of course you'd run your guts out, qualify, and get down there.  Because you know that a short lesson from a master instructor is better than a year of learning from a mediocre one.

So, we left Indianapolis around 6pm on Thursday evening.
That's Tasha, Aly, Leah, Me, Kristin, and Pete.  Michael took the picture.  It's a balmy 20 degrees.

We drove until about noon the next day, taking turns.  Early afternoon found us poolside.

I quickly got comfortable, even though I was still wearing jeans (the room wasn't "ready" yet).

Some of us ran to the grocery and got essentials like pizza.  Here is Michael cutting the 

Yes, with scissors.  Because you make do with what you are given and you MAKE IT WORK.  We didn't get to go on this trip without coming up with creative ways to solve problems.

How would you expect a multi-millionaire to greet you when you arrive at his home?  Well, we parked on the street, walked past his garage into his backyard pavilion, and he came out the back door.  He let the screen door slam in EXACTLY the same way that got me yelled at by my mom.  You know how it sounds: "screee...SLAMslam".  Like that.  He was wearing flip-flops, shorts, and our logo on a shirt and baseball hat.  He looked like a guy a little bit older than I, coming out his back door to greet his guests.  He looked...normal.  I've seen him on stage lighting up an arena full of people with passion and knowledge.  Now, here he is..."hey!  goodtaseeya!"

It's surreal.

 Michael wanted to get a feel for the place.  In the background, you can see Orrin's 76ft Azimuth Yacht, "Dream Builder."

Orrin's wife, Laurie, took us on a tour around the house.  I didn't take many pics of the place, because I was too busy gawking and imagining what it would be like to have that much space in a kitchen.  I'll just say that the turret at the top is part of Orrin's library/office/space of ultimate awesome.

We headed out toward the yacht for a ride. 
You see Orrin in the middle.  That's Captain Billy on the left, giving a safety briefing. 
Leah follows Michael out to the end of the pier to board.
Michael proclaims that he is "King of the World" as Aly snaps a few shots of people sitting on the foredeck.
Three amazing leading ladies: Kristen Schill, Kristine Militello and my Leah.  We're all wearing Operation Advance Florida '14 shirts.
Looking aft from the transom, with 1500hp wound up.  All that power rumbling feels amazing on the feet!
Looking forward from the transom.  Look at those sheets of water getting thrown out of our way!
Michael and Orrin discussing the finer points of private jet ownership.
I admit that I may never want a motor yacht, but getting a real feel for what is really possible was amazing.  You gotta be here next year.
Michael talking about what this weekend will do for his business.  Super proud of how hard he's running!
I know what you're thinking.  "They don't MAKE a convertible Dodge Challenger."  You're right.  This is customized.  Puts out 500hp, according to my sources.
Laurie's AMG Mercedes.  Leah purred when she saw it.
Orrin, Leah, Me, Laurie.
We held a Sunday service here.  That's our group on the left.

Chris Schill did an excellent job delivering a message.  In flip-flops.  On the beach.
You need to be here next year.

Nice pics, right?  A bit of the fanboi in there, right? Amazing pics of beautiful places, fun toys, and happy people.  Remember why we're here.  We're here because we're running for a dream, and we reached a mile-marker.  This trip represents forward progress toward a dream of freedom.  It clarifies what that dream might look like.  It gives the hands a chance to touch what the head and heart have been straining toward.  It says, "not only is this possible, but you're invited."  I'm not going to describe what was said, or who said it, firstly because I can't do it justice, and secondly because you need to be here next year to hear it yourself.

And so, I say to you, not only is this possible, but you're invited.  You need to be here next year.