Thursday, October 08, 2009

When the student is ready...

On October 5th, 2005, I attended a leadership seminar at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, where I was an administrative assistant. The speaker was Bob Danzig, former CEO of the Hearst Newspaper empire -- quite an accomplishment for a kid that spent his early years bouncing from foster home to foster home.

Bob was soft-spoken and personable, and as people sauntered into the auditorium and took their seats, he walked around the room and met each one; shook their hand warmly, shared a smile and had a moment's conversation, until attendees were coming too quickly to continue. Later in his presentation he called several of those people by name.

Quietly but passionately, he spoke of leadership, of being a foster child, and how he rose to the pinnacle he had achieved, and he left us with a message: "You are full of promise !"

Somehow I won a CD set that day called "You Are Full of Promise - Life Lessons from Leaders" which I took home and put away to listen to later. "Later" turned out to be nearly 4 years later on August 23, 2009, just 5 days before I was to retire from my day job at SUNY. I was driving to Rochester for my 2 year old niece's birthday party (she's not really my niece, but my good friends Hai and Karen Tran let me be uncle Kelvin) I wanted some different music than was in my car so I looked through my collection and the CD set I received 4 years prior kind of fell into my hands. I decided it was a good time to listen to it, on my 2+ hour round trip to Rochester.

An incredible message -- the perfect message I needed to hear just 5 days before I struck out on my on. I remembered why I was moved when I first heard him, and his words managed to touch me deeply as I listened to that CD all the way there, and all the way back. So touched was I, that I emailed him when I returned home... late on a Sunday night, to tell him what effect his words had on me that day. To my great surprise... he wrote me back. I could hear his voice in his typed words as clearly as if he was sitting beside me, and somehow I was absolutely certain that he remembered me from that auditorium 4 years ago, and had been waiting for me to write.

I tell you this story, because I have come to believe -- or perhaps, to realize-- that there are no coincidences in life. Part of my note to him read, "Maybe it wasn't until today that I truly needed to hear the message you had to share..." and truly had I listened to that CD when I got it, it would not have had the same meaning, and would not have had the same effect. There's even more to the story, but that is for another place and time.

Right now, however, I'd really like to recommend this CD to you. If you are a leader, or you aspire to be a leader, I believe this CD is something you NEED to hear, and I defy you to listen to it and not be moved. You Are FULL of Promise -- near the bottom of the page. $15.95 including shipping.

Here's something you need to know:
  • this is NOT an affiliate program, and I receive zero benefit -- other than feeling good -- if you buy the CD or any other product on his site
  • all proceeds from the sale of any of his products go to support one of two charity causes -- click this link if you'd like to know what they are.
I try not to recommend a lot of things, but in my opinion, this CD is a must-have if you seek to lead. This CD set does not motivate. This CD set INSPIRES. It inspired me, and if you are -- or aspire to be -- a leader, it will inspire you; because you, too, are full of promise.

Have an excellent day.



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