Roughly 10 years ago, I said yes to an opportunity to attend a conference that changed my life.  There were two distinct moments that occurred:

  • The first was while listening to Judi Moreo http://judimoreo.com/ speak at a breakout session and feeling inspired to become an author and speaker. The opportunity to create a connection with her propelled me forward and the dream of becoming an author and speaker was realized.
  • The second unforgettable moment was having lunch with the keynote speaker, Martha Beck http://marthabeckinstitute.com/.  The lunch occurred completely by happenstance.  My colleague and I saw her walk past the restaurant rolling her luggage to the pool.  We thought, she’s looking for a place for lunch not the pool. It was easy to detect as she was wearing pants and a long sleeve shirt and it was blazing hot outside.  She accepted the invitation and we had an hour with Oprah Winfrey’s life coach!  Wow, sitting across the table from Martha, how absolutely incredible is that?  She was so natural and comfortable as she sipped on her strawberry milkshake.  She poured wisdom and encouragement into us.  Then she dropped the bomb, she said that we were Shaman and the gift we had been given needed to be and would be manifested.  I had no idea what a Shaman was and embarrassingly asked for clarification.

She said, “A shaman is a healer and teacher.” 
She said it so nonchalantly, like it was no big deal
and conveyed not to worry about what to d
o, instead just to let it happen.

The link between these two women is they had both worked in South Africa, a place that was an absolute mystery to me.  And they both told me with unshakable conviction that I would be going to South Africa.   When a country isn’t on your bucket list and more than one person tells you that you’ll be going to that country, listen!  It was frightening and intriguing.  Because of their conviction, I believed them even though I didn’t understand it, nor did I have any idea of how it would happen.  Several years later I had another wonderful opportunity at a conference.  I met Lucy Brazier http://executivesecretary.com/, an incredible woman who invited me to be on her speaker circuit for Executive Secretary Live.  It just so happened that the conference was being held in Johannesburg, South Africa!

It happened and I didn’t chase it, force it, or strategize about it. 

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Visiting Mandela’s house in Soweto, SA

Immediately after accepting the invitation my mind flooded with memories from my experiences with Judi and Martha.  Why did these two women know I would be going to SA?  I had no idea what to expect and what I’d take away from the opportunity.  If I had to describe the experience in one word, it would be, “spiritual.”  There’s a connection within the country that you can feel.  There’s something magical about having a lion and giraffe look into your eyes.  Equally as remarkable are the people of SA.  The incredible connections and life changing conversations I experienced caused me to question the meaning of success and what’s next for my life. The history of this great country and of the beautiful people including the suffering, strength, leadership, pride and joy is completely indescribable.  You would think the suffering and pain of the past and of the present would cause tremendous resentment and instead we saw smile after smile and joy radiating out of the people.  It all stems from their grounding in Ubuntu which means, I am because we are.  Ironically, last year I read an article by Martha Beck where she mentioned Ubuntu, again another connection and spiritual moment that leads you and prepares you for what’s to come.  I had a conversation with a woman I met in SA, she explained that Ubuntu means we share our knowledge and resources with others.  She said when she cooks a meal she always prepares for 15-20 more as she knows she’ll always have guests drop by.  When I asked if the guests were family I was surprised to learn that most of the time they are not family, instead they are people passing from one village to another.  Can you imagine someone you don’t know dropping by your home and expecting to have lunch with you?  Most of us would even be resentful if an unexpected friend or family member dropped by and expected a meal, let alone a complete stranger.

Imagine what a difference the world would be if we all lived our lives with the spirit of Ubuntu.
What would happen if we began sharing our knowledge and resources with each other freely and willingly?

One experience really can change your life.  Whether its traveling to a different country, connecting with someone new or attending a conference, say yes to opportunities.  The possibilities are endless.

In Gratitude!

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