A few words of thanks and appreciation

858720_354339538015612_2004796587_oOnce in a great while, we experience moments in our lives that have no precedent…a moment that requires one to break from the usual rhythm of the usual day…and design on the fly a different way to receive strange and new information…then figure out how to process it…

If we’re lucky, these are happy moments. If we’re really lucky, they’re unforgettable, too…

Last week, I felt like the luckiest man on the face of the earth at Sandmeyer’s Bookstore in Printer’s Row, as friends of The Insight Labs braved rain and wind to help me launch my humble offering into the universe– the first of what we hope will be many such events throughout the year…

For me, it was a point in time that was unlike any other…a point that I’m sure–quite sure–I would not have reached without the wisdom, encouragement and friendship of Jeff Leitner and Andrew Benedict Nelson…As I remarked that evening, paraphrasing our 16th president, whatever I am at this stage of my professional life, and whatever I hope to be in the future, is due in large part to my friends and colleagues at Insight Labs…I thank them.

A debt of gratitude is owed to Ellen Sandmeyer and her husband, Ulrich, for graciously agreeing to host the event…and to all those who gave up a part of their day (and night) to share the moment with us in real time…Finally, thanks is due to my lovely and remarkable wife Cheryl for, among other heroic deeds, doing what I myself don’t always like to do: live with me

There was, as one might expect, a backstory. Not quite 25 years ago, I took my first real job atNewcity newspaper. Back then, it was a little known bi-weekly, which had offices right across the street. I did all sorts of things for Newcity: I sold classified ads. I delivered newspapers. I illustrated stories…and I wrote a few of them, too…I even met my wife at Newcity—she was earning a masters in art history at the School of the Art Institute, and working for the indie paper part-time…

Sometimes, I’d wander over to Sandmeyer’s to peruse the new titles or reacquaint myself with a classic. I wish I could say that I remember dreaming about seeing one of my own offerings on the shelf one day…but I can’t…It was too remote of a possibility; too remote to even dream about. Yes, my dreams traveled farther than my own back yard, but not that far… Besides, I loved reading books. And, at the time, I believed that one should not mistake a love for reading books as a talent for writing them…What a silly thing to believe…

So there I was, at a bookstore that was the first bookstore in town that had the distinction of being “my bookstore”… doing something I love to do—read—from a little something I’d written…

Before the night was out, we grabbed our fill-in-the-blank strategy signs, inked in the appropriate parts of speech, and held them up proudly for the camera as a way of telling the world: “We–the lost, the mortal, the camera-shy, the over-thinking, the poetical, the non-MBA’d– we are giving ourselves permission to be our own strategists. Today. Tonight. And every night…We are giving ourselves permission to develop any strategy we want to develop, to achieve anything we want to achieve…because we know what strategy means…”

It’s a lot like music if you think about it: Once one knows the notes to sing, one can sing most anything…

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