An Inspiring Evening

Tonight was an evening of vision, and I’m smitten. Smitten by my old friend possibility whom I haven’t seen in a while. Smitten by my muse who ocassionally calls me to crash into the rocks, and other times to remarkably clear waters. Smitten by a connection invigorated and by others rekindled. Here’s a story about love and respect:

Once upon a time I sat around an interview table in Washington’s state education agency with several people who eventually influenced me quite a bit. One of them was a kind older soul; another was a saavy system worker in training; the other was a wonderful and freakishly engaging policy guy named Greg Williamson. Since I met him almost nine years ago he and I have worked together in a variety of capacities, with this last 9 months providing an opportunity for us to strengthen our comradery and ability to succeed together. Tonight I had the privelage of sitting down to dinner with Greg and our longtime friend Wendy Lesko, for whom I have incredible respect – and who is simply an awesome person. If you haven’t read her book Youth! The 26% Solution I would suggest you do that today. So Greg and I and Wendy sat together for several hours and plotted our recent individual paths and schemes and feelings, and it was a spectacular time. I heart them both.

I was wonderfully distracted the entire time I talked with Greg and Wendy. Before that meeting I spent several hours with Melissa Helmbrecht Martin. Melissa is the head of an emerging social change empire called splashlife. For three hours she and I had the most spectacular conversation about changing the world that I’ve had in a long time. As I’ve talked about before, I have heard a lot of good ideas from a lot of good people. But getting those ideas implemented is challenging for a lot of folks. Additionally, you may know that I myself have several dreams unrealized. Talking with someone who has accomplished so much – including opening a charter schoool, running for Congress, and creating several different social change ventures – was humbling to me. She has started and finished things in a very effective way, and while I’ve started and finished things I have often wondered about my effectiveness. Melissa didn’t wonder – she knew. I need more of that type of authentic courage.

Tonight I learned a lot about myself and my friends, and I’m really grateful for that. Its good to have role models, critical friends and hope. There are many places to go from here – thanks for sharing the ride!

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