This has been an interesting couple weeks. While I enjoy being a solo act and having my solitude, I’m still very much a “people person.” A couple weeks ago there was a traveling “road show” here in this little town of Keyser, WV. Basically, it was a company that sends out teams of people all over the country to find certain kinds of collectibles, but mostly gold and silver. I saw the full-page ad in the local daily periodical that passes as a newspaper. I’m still downsizing and eliminating the last of the extraneous stuff from my past life. So, I thought I’d do a little “Gold Mining” and take the little bit of gold that I still have along with a few other pieces of jewelry with some diamonds and other precious stones to see what they might be worth.
The exercise was successful. While I didn’t get rid of all the jewelry I had, I did get rid of some of the pieces that would have been fairly hard to find buyers for and I pocketed a reasonable amount of cash while eliminating more stuff. I won! But, that wasn’t the real “gold” in the adventure. I met Dr. Paul Mach. Dr. Paul, as I’ll call him, was one of the two-member team evaluating and buying the gold, silver and other stuff. It turns out that Dr. Paul has a health care practice specializing in holistic health – www.holistichealthcarealliance.com. The man has a couple bachelor degrees and a couple doctors’ degrees. He’s an entrepreneur, an outgoing guy and sharp as a tack. Intellectual stimulation, now that’s real gold.
Dr. Paul and I had dinner that evening (a Friday) and a terrific evening of stimulating discussion. We followed that up by having another dinner on Sunday evening and then brunch on Monday before he was leaving town, both followed by more stimulating conversations. Dr. Paul is from Springfield, IL. So, I now have another pin on my map indicating another fascinating friend I’ve made in an unusual way. The key that opened this door was when I was explaining why someone with a South Dakota address would be in Keyser, WV and for some reason I used the words “lemming mentality.” So happens that Dr. Paul had written about “lemming mentality” in one of his books.
Fast forward to Wednesday evening of the past week, February 22, 2012. My very good friend, Dave Yoho – www.daveyoho.com, had invited me to a small dinner gathering. Dave has allowed me to use an office in his complex for the past three years or so in Fairfax, VA. He’s also been a great client for whom I’ve done voice-over work, audio production, field recording and designed audio-video systems for over the last 30 years. The dinner was for a group known as the National Speakers Association – Washington, DC chapter. I was one of the founding members of that group 32 years ago. We originally called it the National Capital Speakers Association.
I knew that beside Dave and his wife, Carole, I’d probably know a few other people in attendance, but most of the others would be friends I hadn’t met, yet.
The group began to gather around 6 PM at a nice Italian restaurant of Dave’s choosing in Vienna, VA. Sure enough, the admiral, Roger Gilbertson, Rear Adm. USN (Ret) – www.rogergilbertson.com and his wife, Meg, were there. Roger is one of the most intelligent people I know and a stimulating conversationalist. And Meg is he equal. My friends, Ray and Sally Strackbein – www.connectionexperts.com and www.definingstory.com, two great folks who are way, way more computer literate then I am and who both do training and workshops on a variety of topics, were there. Ray and Sally have been very instrumental in assisting me with the long weekend Veteran Speakers Retreat I coordinate each year for a sizeable group of veteran professional speakers. We bestow the coveted designation of Legend of the Speaking Profession to several outstanding people each year at the event. Also, my good friend, Ron Culberson – www.funsulting.com and his lovely bride, Wendy, were there as well. Ron is the incoming president of the prestigious National Speakers Association and has also been a participant, as well as assisting in the annual speakers retreat when he’s had time in his very busy schedule. Ron also has a beach house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina that I’ve had to opportunity to enjoy from time to time.
As a matter of fact, everyone I’ve mentioned, so far, who attended the dinner, has been a participant in the Veteran Speakers Retreat. Dave Yoho was actually one of the founders of the retreat and coordinated it for the first 14 years. I’ve been involved as the coordinator for the past ten years. This is the group’s 25th anniversary this year. So, needless to say, I certainly felt at home with this group.
But, the serendipity and the gold mining that I always expect (and I’m seldom disappointed) came about. I met and enjoyed dinner with Dr. Ed James, a doctor who operates a business called Heal 2B Free and specializes in lifestyle changes for continual healing – www.heal2bfree.com. Ed is in the process of completing a book based on his own healing and the work he’s doing for others. We shared some time.
Next came Mike Schmidtmann the force behind an organization called 4 Profit – www.4-profit.com Mike was intrigued about my nomadic existence and my residency in South Dakota. As we spoke, I learned that Mike had enjoyed some of the nomadic adventure himself before he settled in, married, had a family and bought a home. I could see his mind working as we spoke. I’m sure he is considering how, one day, he’ll be able to consider living freer, himself. He’s self-employed, so he’s certainly not bound by an employer’s chains.
Finally, I met Joanne Dennison and her partner Steve (and I didn’t get Steve’s last name, drat). Joanne has a business called The Ordinary Success Project and dubs herself The Guidance Counselor for Grown Ups – www.guidancecounselorforgrownups.com. I like that. Joanne focuses on leading ordinary people to extraordinary results. That’s sort of the way I feel about helping people to live free. Once again, the conversation was scintillating.
There were others I met, like Lois Newman (not sure if that’s the correct spelling) who I didn’t have a chance to get to know better. And there were a few I only had a chance to acknowledge because they were sitting at other tables. But, I left that dinner pumped up because, once again, I had found “gold” at that meeting. I have followed up with Ed, Mike, Joanne and Steve by email to get them into my email address book and to let them know that I totally appreciated the opportunity of meeting them and sharing some of our priceless time together. My hope is that I’m always able to contribute something in the way of an idea, inspiration or whatever to each person I meet. I can’t change anyone’s life and they can’t change mine. But, we can each make changes in our own lives based on ideas and inspiration we receive from those we meet and share with.
So, living free, keeping life simple and gaining value from the time I invest by meeting and sharing with interesting new people is one of the ways I keep myself fresh and invigorated. Meeting Dr. Paul on a lark by going to downsize a bit more – serendipity. Accepting my friend, Dave’s, invitation to attend a meeting of an organization that I was instrumental in starting and operating for the first eight years of it’s existence, but haven’t been active in or a member of for about 15 years, truly a valuable investment of my time and again, serendipity. I look forward to whatever future collaborations may evolve out of that evening encounter in Vienna, VA and with Dr. Paul Mach.
And, as an interesting note, I received an email from Mike Schmidtmann the day after we met with an mp3 file attached – and a note that said “The Ed Helvey Story, done Bluegrass style.” And there was a song that perfectly tells the story of what my life is about these days. I’ve already located the writer/artist and will contact him to see if I can gain permission to use his song as my theme. When that happens you’ll hear it on the blog and on the new Web site under construction.