Doing keynotes speeches has become big part of my life. Really, it’s not something I ever planned for but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I enjoyed it. Simply put, there’s a rush to be had from addressing crowds that can be as big as a few thousand. And since I only take on “events” where I think I can actually do well, serve the needs of the audience and genuinely be a contributor to this world (this is my litmus tests for accepting invitations to speak or do PD; it’s born from my personal mission statement to both provide meaning and find meaningfulness in the work that I do) well… it’s blossomed into a growing area of my life.
But the travel gets hard.
Fly enough and you are bound to look up and loathe the airlines. I am not a physically big person at all and yet, I often feel cramped. Plus, most domestic airlines really operate their business with a herding cattle mentality (despite their propaganda and platitudes; although some are much worse than others) and our countries fleet of airplanes are often old, crossing through airport security is often tedious and after the high of interacting with scores and scores of people, a long journey home on a late-night flight that’s been delayed, can actually swing the pendulum of your emotions in the opposite way and the whole experience can demoralize you a bit.
And when the airplane smells like dirty baby diapers as soon as you board, as it did yesterday after I gave a keynote speech to thousands in Mississippi that was truly a rockin’ home run of an event, it’s easy to get a bit blue.
Theoretically, there’s an answer for what to do when you turn blue. And that answer is, go do something nice for someone else. Putting your own (self-absorbed) issues aside and just simply seeing if you can bring a small bit of joy into someone else’s life is often the antidote when it comes to feeling down.
It’s like “Shoot, I am absolutely worthless to myself right now but hey, maybe I can be of some value to someone else.” If you can find a way to be of value to someone else the collateral benefit is often that you yourself will feel a little bit better.
But when you are feeling blue and cramped and have the scent of smelly baby diaper in your nostrils after having woken up at 3:45 am (according to my California body time clock; 6:45 on the east coast) and are now staring at a cross country flight on a plane that is packed to 100% capacity, well… screw humanity. That’s my mantra.
And then I saw my neighbor on the flight. A dad. Bout my age. With two kids, I’d guess 9 and 7, and one iPad. They were firing up Shark Week for the kids to watch. Unfortunately, however, they only had one set of headphones. Frustration quickly set in for my neighbors.
And in my bag I had an earphone splitter. So what did I do, I leaned over and hooked him up.
It was about as small as an act of generosity as a person could commit. And really, to even give myself props for having done this stretches the credibility of even using the word kindness to describe my actions.
But wow was dad appreciative. And so were his kids. Plus, as it turns out, we were flying back to L.A. he’s a big movie producer and I think he’s going to buy the rights to turn NERD GIRLS into a feature length film.
Okay, that last part is bull puckeys. He was just a dad and I got nothing from the interaction.
Nothing except an improved mood. As it turns out, my flight ended up being not so dreadful.
Why? Because all that stuff always exists solely between your ears.