Swimming with the current

I’ve heard both sides of things.  “Life shouldn’t be this hard” or, “it takes work.”  I guess somewhere in the middle lies the truth.  Perhaps the idea is to slow down and connect to yourself in order to really figure out your path. 

Most of my life has been by happenstance.  I just ‘go with the flow’ and enjoy myself.  That’s not a bad way to live, in fact when I look back on my story it’s pretty amazing.  That feels good.  Something has shifted in me over the last few years and I believe it’s because I took the time to myself, to get to know ME again.  The result has been well worth the investment.  My sense of self at work and personally has shifted in a way I feel proud of.

This project for Kilimanjaro is growing, evolving into something new every day.  I’ve simply asked myself ‘what do you want?’ and then listen to how to make that happen.  I’m dreaming big.   

I’ve been having conversations with a few companies in hopes of gaining some sort of sponsorship for this event.  I’m currently talking with SmartWool about donating socks on their behalf to the Porters Program.  The other conversation I’m having is with Starbucks.  

I approached Starbucks months ago while at a conference in Houston.  I didn’t follow up until recently.  Turns out Starbucks is interested in my project.   Starbucks is a profit sharing company and many of the employees (partners) are unaware that they have money in a Fidelity Account just because they show up for work.   I’ve identified a gap with how Starbucks is communicating this to the thousands of people that work in the stores.  These partners need to have partners talking to them, not the people above them.  These people identify with one another and they need that conversation.  They need to know Starbucks can be a ‘dream maker’ and has a compassionate side to the way it does business that begins at the store level.  So, I went into stores and filmed baristas answering the question ‘what’s one of your dreams?’  The truth is most of the people who work in the stores come from middle class families and are educated.  Therefore their dreams are a reflection of that.   Sure, there are some fringe stories of extreme circumstances – donating a kidney, recovering after a severe fight with illness, but what about the everyday dreams.  The average dreams.  Starbucks is a global company.  I want to travel around the world and continue to ask the question to people of all cultures in stores “what’s one of your dreams?”   I want to show a sense of relatedness and connection that results in inspiration, motivation and pride.  Filming Kili is one thing, to continue to film and show how my dream can connect to many other dreams, that’s another.  To highlight the fact that after 10 years of working for a company that has helped me every year to live my dreams then, offer me an opportunity to capture Kilimanjaro… that is a beautiful story that should & needs to be told. 

With the help of my Regional Director, my District Manager and others I have honed in on one person to talk with in the Public Affairs team in Seattle.  The conversations have just begun but I have a sense this will be some hearty conversation and dialogue.  My pitch is in its infancy but I trust that it has legs and good intention.   That is a good place to start.  I’ll continue to nurture and let others help breathe life into it, I’ve never been much of a control freak and believe this will pay off with this event.

My sabbatical begins July 18th for 6 months.  With any luck this will mean a few months of traveling and the remainder playing with all the content and memories of those adventures, to create some lovely stories to share. 

Oh, and entire thing begins with another Epic Relay run across Colorado with lovely people.  Turns out … I’m Lucky.