The Guy Who Followed His Passion

I was in Charlotte, North Carolina for a seminar last week. Tuesday evening, after a long and informative day of workshops, a friend and I decided to get some drinks at the hotel lounge.

Sitting at the bar while discussing work, my recent trip to Italy, and the nature of the tourism industry, a fellow that was sitting just opposite my friend Hank chimed in and said… “They’re just sick of tourists, but happy to take your money!” It was basically summing up an experience I had in Venice by some disgruntled hospitality workers, and more importantly led to an entertaining and friendly conversation with this guy in the bar…consequently named “Guy.”

He told us how his 24 year old daughter was going to be traveling to Madagascar soon, and might even be photographed for National Geographic. It sounded incredible, and his daughter was thrilled as it is her dream to work for National Geographic. He mentioned how long the flights would be (always the grueling part of traveling internationally) and said she’d be flying out of LAX. This prompted me to ask, “Does she live in LA?” He responded saying yes and that he did as well. No kidding, as I live in LA too. Turns out his office is about 3 blocks from where my wife used to live, and he actually knew my neighborhood really well also. Small world.

We got to talking about what he does, as he was telling us about how he’s been all over the world. He does lighting and sound for some huge companies that are all around the US and the world. He enthusiastically said, “We do the smoke, lights and sound…you know, the fun stuff when you’re out at a concert!”

Guy had traveled the country so much and had such large accounts that he immediately knew my suburban Chicago hometown, because he had done extensive work there.

He was so jazzed about all the travel and had such a great and entertaining spirit. I had to ask him, “So how did you get started with your business?” He said it started back in the late 60’s, when he’d purchase do-it-yourself strobe light kits from the back of Popular Mechanics magazine, put them together and sell them to other kids. (He said he ordered mail order from a small company… in a very Forrest Gump-like revelation, he said this (at-the-time unknown) company was“Texas Instruments…wish I would have bought stock!!”

From there he said he, “Followed his passion,” as it’s been said so many times before by successful entrepreneurs. We chatted a bit more, swapping travel stories, music stories, and laughed quite a bit. After we all said goodnight, I went up to my hotel room and started taking an inventory of all the e-books, software programs, and other services that I had both compiled as a reseller, and created on my own accord, realizing that information was my passion, as this interaction just edified what I already knew.

Passion is the only path…not just doing something that you do because you have for a long time and its become habit, or because of a degree that you received. But that purpose was most important element. We only forge ahead as boldly as our emotions allow us, so without passion we take meek action; with great passion we take huge strides.

Heading out of Charlotte/Douglas airport, I got an email from a mentor of mine (and Internet Marketing wizard). He gave me a raving review of my latest site and service I created. It felt good. And just a few minutes later, while Hank and I were having lunch in the terminal, guess who walked up with a big smile to greet us…our pal Guy who inspired me to write this entry. Coincidentally, we’re flying back to LA on the same flight.