This is an absolutely true, somewhat crazy story that happened just four days ago.
I’m not going to reveal who the “Important Famous Person” was because if you really know me, you already know. And if you don’t really know me, then it doesn’t really matter.
It’s a tale of following your wildest instincts and dreams, no matter what.
So, this past Thursday morning…at around 9:30 am…
Yours truly is messaging a young colleague in the Netherlands.
A friend who, like me, believes in the power of the mind, of a burning desire, belief, faith, and persistent action. I am reminding my Netherlandish friend about the need for consistent, insistent, persistent, action in trying to get the attention of the Important Famous Person.
Netherlandish friend agrees and says this Important Famous Person we’re trying to reach often posts their exact whereabouts on Twitter.
I check Important Famous Person out on Twitter — and bang.
There it is.
City, hotel, and room number.
Important Famous Person is apparently a five-hour drive away from me right now. For how long, I’m not sure. Immediately, I start to move, and walk forward towards the front door.
I’m wearing a long-sleeve flannel shirt, jeans, socks, shoes, my iPhone, and my wallet. At the front door, I keep walking, grab a charger cable, a rain jacket, and a bag.
I keep walking.
Once in the hall, I call for a car rental. They say they’re very busy and will have no cars until at least 5 p.m.
I say, “I have to have a car right now.”
They say, “We’re sorry, but we don’t have any cars right now.”
I say, “I don’t care. I need a car right now.”
I keep walking into the elevator.
They say, “Sir, we’ve checked the neighboring office and they’re out of cars today too.”
I say, “I have to have a car and I need it right now. Come pick me up.”
They say, “We can pick you up, but you might be sitting there until 5 p.m., sir.”
I say, “I have to have a car — I’ll take anything and I need it now.”
My pick-up ride meets me downstairs.
I get in.
Now, at this point, I should tell you, I am running on high voltage, my heart is on fire, my mind is focused like a laser, burning with intensity, driven, totally obsessed with one thing: driving five hours to meet the Important Famous Person.
My pick-up driver asks: “So I heard — what’s so important? Why do you need a car so bad?”
I tell him exactly why I need the car. With fire in my voice, intensity in my eyes, and passion in my heart. Total certainty and belief.
In a few blocks, at a stoplight, my driver turns, looks at me with a slack jaw and bulging eyes.
He says, “I’ll get you a car. You can have this car.”
I’m not sure if “this car” is a retail fleet vehicle or his personal minivan.
I smile and raise a fist in the air.
We get to the rental center. He drops me off with a hearty high-five and wishes me success and says he can’t wait to “see it all happen.”
I keep walking. I sign something and start driving.
Over the next five hours or so, except for a brief fuel and food stop, I listen, non-stop, to my favorite motivational talks about success and keep rehearsing aloud and loudly — everything I will say to the Important Famous Person. How I will walk into their hotel, tell the front desk person to call the Important Famous Person, how I will walk up, smile, and give my 30-second pitch. Five-ish hours later, I am driving up in front of the Important Famous Person’s hotel. No parking to be seen.
I find a pay lot a block or so away, park and silently ready myself with the full power of belief and faith.
Deep breath. I get out. I walk forward.
I walk up to the hotel and as I come nearer, I see a sign with instructions to enter through the main revolving door.
I approach the revolving door.
As I reach the revolving door, Important Famous Person is walking out the revolving door, looking me right in my eyes.
I laugh. Important Famous Person smiles. I tell Important Famous Person that I just dropped everything this morning, drove five hours to meet them, and immediately, this. Important Famous Person shakes my hand, explains their evening plans, and gives me their mobile number and email.
I now have Important Famous Person’s phone number and email.
Now, what are the chances of that happening? Every acceleration, brake, start and stop of my day, from the moment I decided to go, led me to stepping up to the door exactly, precisely, as Important Famous Person stepped out.
To the second.
I shudder and tremble to calculate it.
We email back and forth over the next day. Important Famous Person ends up with food poisoning. Sleeps a lot.
The waiting begins.
Thursday night, with nothing but the clothes on my back, wanting to be ready at any time to meet Important Famous Person, I get a hotel room nearby and keep watch, rehearsing and rehearsing.
Waiting. Nerves. Anxiety. Fear. Terror. Re-center. Change thoughts.
Friday, hours of waiting and emailing, washing my clothes in my bathroom sink.
Checking out each morning, walking the streets in circles in the afternoon, staying close to my car, ready and staying on fire.
Meet some wonderful people in restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, and stores. I exude a visible purpose, a definite plan, and positivism. Friday night, the email comes. “Saturday will hopefully work.”
How many days am I willing to stay in my same clothes and stay focused and believing?
“As long as it takes, whatever it takes,” comes the inner voice.
I am near exhausted from the intensity of the past 24 hours.
I send Important Famous Person a rough idea of the Idea I want to share.
Important Famous Person emails back in a brusque manner, saying that they get pitched with ideas at least 12 times a day and have no time for anything new and wonder why I expect them to see me out of the blue and assess my idea.
Was Important Famous Person mad at me?
Should I give up and go away?
Did I have a right to bother Important Famous Person?
Fear. Anxiety. Nerves. Terror. At 4:10 p.m., in the lobby of Important Famous Person’s hotel, I sit, exhausted but calm from two hours of meditation. At 4:12 p.m., Important Famous Person and spouse walk up to me, extend a hand, then a hug.
We sit down and small talk about this and that jovially. I breathe calm and peace, ready to leave with a good impression even if the Idea is never revealed. Then Important Famous Person suddenly says, “So, what do you have?”
After ten minutes of talking about It, (rehearsal pays off because my Pitch of 60 seconds leads to Important Famous Person leaning in and asking for more details) and veering into other subjects of the world, I let Important Famous Person and spouse get to their family dinner appointment and say “thank you” many times. Important Famous Person apologizes for being so unavailable and grumpy and after offering some helpful insights, and inside stories, says I have some “really good ideas.” Important Famous Person gives me a longer, better, bigger hug.
As Important Famous Person walks away, they suddenly turn back to me smile, point, and say, “Stay in touch and don’t worry — I’ll remember you.”
Yes, I’m sending more emails and staying in touch. Tomorrow.
Lessons abound in this story for you to discover.
For me, the most amazing thing was finding myself walking forward, not knowing how I would do it, only that I would certainly do it. Nothing would stop me.
I was doing something nonsensical, crazy, and uncertain.
Even though whatever plans I may have had for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday went out the window, I simply knew I absolutely had to get there and meet Important Famous Person.
I met Important Famous Person.
Important Famous Person liked me and will remember me.
Have you ever done something like this? Would you?
As a strategist, writer, designer, producer, director, actor, musician, performer, teacher, trainer and speaker, creative marketing was a potentially ideal career for Paul. Yet after years of winning dozens of global creativity awards with various agencies, Paul gave up the awards pursuit and became a professional human being.
Paul launched the1101experiment in 2001, focusing on bringing top-level strategy, creativity and multi-dimensional success to global brands, but with an added emphasis on positive ethical and social opportunities. Paul's thinking has been published worldwide and has predicted many global cultural shifts long before they happened. Paul leads a mastermind network of friends, colleagues and multi-talented professionals from around the world who are strategists, writers, artists, web, social and interactive specialists, who are involved on all client work.