And then…I flipped off the Father of Motivation

By Nancy Levin

goldstarsticker2It was 2am on November 17, 2007…and I was determined.

I was producing two events with Wayne Dyer back-to-back over the course of a weekend. He spoke in Atlanta on Saturday afternoon, and then the whole crew of us flew to Detroit where he was to speak again on Sunday afternoon. By 10pm, we were all settled into our hotel rooms in Detroit. Then my phone rang. It was Wayne, and he was in a panic. It was his briefcase, he told me. He couldn’t find it, and he was sure he’d left it somewhere en route from Atlanta. Everything was in that briefcase, he told me. Notes and books for his lecture, notes for the next book he was writing, money, and more. He couldn’t even think about getting on stage the next day without it.

At that point in my life, I was still chasing all the gold stars. Still seeking all my validation externally, which I received primarily through my work as the Event Director at Hay House, which is where I received the most love and accolades. I aimed for perfection, and generally achieved it. This situation was no different.

I was going to figure out where that briefcase was if it killed me.

I thought back. Wayne only used his briefcase at the actual events. We’d literally left the stage in Atlanta and gotten into a van en route to the airport, so he’d had his briefcase then. I had a hunch it was still in that vehicle. I called the car company and was told that the van wouldn’t be back to the lot for another hour.

No problem, I told them. I’d wait and call back.

I called an hour later the van was back, but the news wasn’t good. The dispatcher told me he’d checked and the briefcase wasn’t there. I begged him to go back out and look again. It was dark out, I figured; maybe he’d just missed it. I sat on hold, praying it was hiding under a seat. Lo and behold, I was right! The dispatcher came back and told me he had the briefcase in hand.

It was now close to midnight. Wayne called me again, and I told him I’d located the briefcase and was working on getting it to Detroit. I told him he should go to bed and not worry. He was relieved and appreciative, but still anxious—he didn’t know how he was going to get on stage without his notes and books.

I asked the car company if they would put an employee on a plane first thing in the morning to deliver the briefcase. No suck luck; traveling with someone else’s bag had become illegal after 9/11. I called FedEx, UPS, DHL and every other carrier I could find in the phone book, but it was a weekend everyone was off the clock. I called airlines to ask about freight and cargo shipments; once again it was a no-go because it was Saturday night. I called my travel agent, Andrea, who was on California time. But even putting our heads together we couldn’t come up with a solution to get the briefcase from Atlanta to Detroit by 2pm when Wayne was supposed to walk on stage.

I had a reputation for achieving the impossible. I had set my own bar so high that even though it was the wee hours of the morning and I could see no resolution, failure was still not an option.

I had left messages for some seemingly back-alley messenger services, and tried to watch TV until they called back. But at a certain point I just couldn’t sit there doing nothing any longer. At 4am I got dressed, walked downstairs, and asked the bellman to get me a taxi.

In the back seat, on my laptop, I bought a round round-trip ticket to Atlanta. I sent emails to my staff with instructions for setting up at the venue and getting it all going with without me. We were expecting 2,000 people and I wouldn’t get there until about 30 minutes before showtime, but I couldn’t care.

Based on my experiences that day, I do believe that Detroit and Atlanta are the biggest airports in the whole world. I had to go through security, get to my departure gate in Detroit, fly, go out to Baggage Claim in Atlanta where a guy from the car company was waiting for me, retrieve the briefcase, go back through security—where they questioned and groped me because I had only just arrived in Atlanta minutes before and was only traveling with a briefcase—get to my departure gate, fly again, get out of the Detroit airport, get into a taxi and get to the event venue.

Sitting in my seat, on the runway on my way back to Detroit, I called Wayne.

“Hi. I’ve got your briefcase.”

“Where are you?”

“That’s not important.”

“You’re not in Detroit, are you?”

“You’ll have your briefcase before you go on stage.”

“Nancy, did you do something crazy?’

“Wayne, just go to your Bikram Yoga class and I’ll see you soon.”

We have a little ritual when I introduce Wayne on stage. The last thing I say is, “I know he needs no introduction, but please welcome to the stage one of my most favorite men in the world—Wayne Dyer.” He comes on, the crowd goes wild, he gives me a hug, and I whisper “Have fun!” in his ear. But that day he held onto me so I couldn’t walk offstage. He turned and told the audience the whole story. How I had gone above and beyond the call of duty, stayed up all night, flown to Atlanta and back to retrieve the briefcase he left there. He explained that there was nothing I wouldn’t do, at any cost, to make whatever needed to happen happen. He even shared what had happened a few minutes earlier, when I had returned the briefcase to him.

I had gotten to the venue just a few minutes before Wayne’s car pulled up. As he stepped out of the car, with throngs of fans surrounding us, I smiled and extended my arm with briefcase in hand. Jokingly, he put up his hand as if to dismiss the offer. “Oh, I don’t need that!” he said.

And then, without missing a beat, in front of all those people, I flipped off the father of motivation.

And now, 6 years later, I have reconciled with resolving internally what I had been seeking externally. I am beginning to believe that I am loved for who I am, not for what I do. And I have finally stopped chasing all the gold stars since I know that no amount will ever be enough. While, most importantly during this process, I have discovered that I am.

I’d love to hear from you…please share your story of chasing gold stars and/or knowing that you are enough!

xoxo
Nancy

A Case of the “What Ifs”

Isn’t it incredible how fear can nearly paralyze us and it isn’t until we really hit a major crisis that we see how strong we are? Strength comes from many different things. Mainly from going through a lot of negative experiences and through the process of overcoming these experiences we gain more strength and learn how to be tough, be strong, and plow through.

However, a lot of us still have fear to take the next step in life that is needed to go in the direction that we truly want to go in. This does not involve the type of strength that appears suddenly when hit with crisis. Most of us don’t take the steps necessary to go for our dreams because we think we are not going to be strong enough to take on what it involves to go there. Or we are afraid of failure? Or success? What if? Attached to outcomes…we all want things to turn out exactly the way we see them…but what if they don’t? Do we have the strength to handle that outcome? Do we have the strength to make it through if it is harder than we thought? What if people around me think I am crazy? What if my spouse doesn’t like me anymore because I am doing things differently? What if I can’t pay my bills? What if I take time away from taking care of everyone else? What if I appear selfish? Am I being selfish?

First of all, stop and think of all of the things that will be positive about the changes you will make. Write them down. What if it does create everything you have always wanted? What if your journey takes you in a different direction than anticipated, yet it is still better than where you are now. What if your new experiences create such positive energy and excitement despite the difficulties that come with change? What if you find that you are an even more incredible person than you ever thought you were capable of becoming? What if you do have the strength to handle anything that comes your way? What if people turned around after you started your journey and noticed how incredible your life is becoming because you took a risk, believed in yourself, and no matter what, the process made you stronger, created positive change and now your friends and family are coming to you for advice on how to improve their lives? YEAH??? Well, I can tell you that most likely the positive things that I just mentioned will occur. Now are you scared? If you only knew what you truly are capable of…you would never fear again.