Tuesday, May 31, 2011
It's easy to get caught in slow pace of life and even easier to forget the magical adventures that have colored the past something beautiful. I can close my eyes and put myself on the other side of the world, the other side of the season or the other side of employment. But closing my eyes it's not so easy to picture what went into getting me there.
It would be fun to say that I've pulled myself through life by bootstraps and perseverance but it just wouldn't be true. Standing behind every great opportunity was someone willing to take a chance on a kid; Untested, unproven, unprovoked and, on occasion, unshaven. With 28 years of hindsight it starts to become clear that these people had more than a little to do with my success.
There was a red-headed recruiter from Bates who saw the glimmer in my eye when I explained that I wanted to learn how to be a great writer. There was a program director at Vail who put his reputation on the line to hire a coach and build a race team around a handful of high school and college kids like myself because he saw a spark of talent for speed and the beginnings of something special. There was an editor at Ski Magazine and then a reporter at People Magazine who pulled me up with an outstretched hand from an essay, a chance meeting and a whole lot of luck.
If that was all it would have been enough. The list goes on. An aspiring politician who gave me a chance to run a campaign (and didn't drop me with a few speed bumps along the way). There was a speechwriter in the Mayor's office and even a girl on a bus in the City by the Bay. Then finally, and most magically, there was the CEO of a Fortune 500 company who read an e-mail I had written and decided I was worth a roll of the dice.
Every one of these experiences was new and they were all scary as hell. But for each I owe an untold fortune of gratitude for the experiences.You can make a plan, you can write a list, you can set a goal, but often it's not so much about the journey as it is about the goodness of people you meet along the way.
It's 2011 and soon I'll be asking someone else to take chance on me, on an unknown future of work, of play and of everything in between. And in the post-grad world it's time to start taking a few chances on some of you. The best parts of life are unplanned, scary and spectacular. So do the world a favor, head out, do your research, then put your past away, make your best guess and take a chance on something or someone who might surprise you.
Yup, still got it.