RIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNG, RIIIIIIINNNNNNG! My blissful sleep was shocked into alert status by the phone blaring its ugly call. It was midnight, and all of my children were home and in bed. I was the Operations Manager at a large distribution facility, and I was currently #1 on the call list for the building’s alarm company. This would be the third call this week to be aroused in the middle of the night. RIIIIIIINNNNG!
The phone was on my (now) ex wife’s side of the bed. “Should I pick it up?” NO! Let someone else go for once. I was tired, and a bit cranky. It had been a long week at work, and my bed was really comfortable. RIIIIIIINNNNG! Aww Shit, “Fine, frikin pick it up! My ex picked up the receiver and handed it over to me. With all the non energy I could muster – “heeeello?”
“Rick, it’s Laurie (my now ex mother-in-law), we need you to come out to West Bend and pick us up from the hospital. Rick (my ex father in law – yeah, I know) and I were in a bad motorcycle accident, but they are going to release us soon, and we need a way home.”
I would like to say there was some cosmic Universe thing going on that lead me to acquiescing on answering the phone, but the reality was, I just didn’t want to catch hell from my boss for not picking up. I KNEW it was the alarm company calling. I mean who else would call me at that hour? Oh yeah, the unexpected.
It’s funny how we get called when we least expect it. We have our life, and our plans and goals all laid out before us. Eager to leap into those things, we dart out into the world. Only sometimes life has a different idea. Now, if you are open to life’s whispers in your ear, and have the bravery to actually listen, and act, well, then treasure awaits you my friend! In her book of the same title this is what Elizabeth Gilbert calls “Big Magic.” It’s the intersection of, “what’s that you say?” and “I cannot NOT do something with this!” You have been called, you hear it, now what are you going to do?
One week ago today, I returned from a 4 day venture in New York at a wonderful camp for adults called Camp GLP. I took an extra day beforehand to see the sights in NYC. That was awesome! I sat down to dinner with a few like minded campers that evening. This was my second year at camp, and the question for all the returners around the dinner table seemed to be – “What brings you back?” My answer? To deepen connections with people I had met last year. That was my goal. It’s a nice goal, but of course with goals come – EXPECTATIONS.
There's nothing wrong with expectations. You just have to be open to the possibility that they may not be met. Click To Tweet
I wonder sometimes about expectations. Can you truly walk into any given situation with absolutely zero expectations? I like to try, but I always know somewhere in the back of my noggin there is something trying to be met. What do you think about that?
So, armed with a list of people in my head, off to camp I went. I was going to go deep diving into their experience to “find the answers to the world” or, some freaking epic shit like that.
When you arrive at camp there is actually a lot to do. Sign the forms, check in, name tag, get your bunk assignment, and grab the ever popular swag bag! Of course for returning campers there is all the hugging and “so glad you are here”, and “let’s make some time to sit down this weekend” stuff interrupting those tasks. Which is awesome! Of the roughly 400 campers this year however, about half I believe were first timers. I remember being one, and there is somewhat of a lost feeling there. The camp team had planned well for that, and had a special meetup just for them. They did great!
So, did I make all those deep connections that I planned on? A couple, but mostly no. Here’s how that all played out.
I’m Sorry, I wasn’t listening
I didn’t know it at the time, but my call came on the train ride to camp. I had been sitting with my good friend Kerri, when the WONDEROUS Jan Black walked over to us. Something told me that these two could really use some one on one time (I already had my awesome Jan Black time the night before), so I headed to the back of the car where a small group of people I did not know so well were congregated. I thought it would be kewl to hear what their story was.
Turns out what they needed was a little R/C time with stories and humor to ease their jitters about being first timers at camp. We were having so much fun sharing stories, I lost track of the long train ride. <Calling hint #1 I didn’t listen to>
At camp, I got settled in, and started making my way around. Hoping to get in some deep connection time in. I wasn’t having a lot of luck though. People were busy, and lots of others were asking if I knew where X was, or how to get to Y. <Calling hint #2, but I wasn’t listening>
At the campfire that night, I ran into one of my Aussie gals from the train, and she was having a deep dive convo with another newbie. I joined in the conversation. It was awesome. Lots of kewl stuff and new information shared. I spent so much time there, I didn’t get a chance to deep dive with any of the people on my list. Dang it! Oh well, it’s only the first night. <#3, wasn’t listening>
The next day I tried to connect with those on my list again. No dice. All were busy. I looked for spots at tables during meals – nope, not an opening there either. But I kept having awesome conversations with other people. Most of them first timers.
The next day at lunch I tried something totally new. I parked my keester at a table by myself to see what would happen. BOOM! The first person that came to sit with me was Jeff Goins. THIS was a person I wanted to connect with at camp. Then one by one, more joined us for the conversation! It was fantastic. Lol, unfortunately, that trick only worked once.
There was a reason for that though. I didn’t realize this until after camp, outside at LaGuardia waiting for my flight (I had 5 hours to kill). Sitting on a bench, soaking up the last of my NYC time, an African American woman in her 60’s asked if she could sit on the bench with me. It wasn’t crowded, there were a lot of open benches, but she chose mine. We struck up a conversation. Two total strangers from totally different walks of life talked, shared stories and belly laughed out loud for two hours! How does this happen? Why does this happen?
Because I was called. I am called to reach out to those that may feel uncomfortable in life. Called to serve those that may need a small dose of inspiration. Called to bring out the laughter, joy, and love that is hiding inside.
For the past 20 years my work has not really related to people. I have not been listening. Simon Sinek believes that we all need to first find our why before anything else. Our why is the basis of what and how we do whatever it is we do. It is your foundation, and it is not as much fun as the actual building of the house. And it doesn’t change over time. Your why of what you do, pretty much forms in your late teens/early 20’s. If I go back to that time, things begin to make sense.
At Camp GLP 2016, through no conscious doing of my own, I rediscovered my why. And my WHY is YOU.
The most precious and valuable asset you have, Heck that this world has is you. Nothing is greater right now than you, and you deserve the most and best time, compassion, respect, work, consideration and love from you. And my why is to help you get there.
20 years ago, I was a youth minister, a DJ and a therapist. I had my why. Getting married I got too lost in the urgent at the expense of the important, and forgot my why. Thanks to Jonathan Fields, the camp GLP crew and 2 total strangers I found it again. Finally having my why back, I can now go and build some wonderful things. It will take some work, but it is purposeful work I can give my entire being to.
Peace my friends,
PS – Be on the lookout on the Rick Charlie FB page for an exciting Free – YOU – challenge opportunity coming up!!! Details soon!