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Sometimes Bad Things Happen While Chasing Your Dreams

I had the awesome privilege this weekend to chase my dreams by speaking at a conference in Reno, Nevada. I was told by several in the audience that it went well despite some upsetting circumstances.

I flew U.S. Airways from Milwaukee to Reno, with a layover in Phoenix. When I entered the plane to Reno from Phoenix they told me I had to express check my bag because the flight was packed. I have done this several times before so I thought this was no big deal. There were also 50 people behind me so I didn’t have time to properly react.

When I got to Reno I waited by the door where they usually bring the bags that are expressed checked, right away I got nervous when they told me the bag was in baggage claim.

I went down to baggage claim, waited for all the bags and sure enough my bag didn’t come out. I was nervous, upset and scared; all I took out of the bag was my ID and my debit card (praise the Lord for that move).

Still in my bag were all my clothes, especially the ones I was going to wear to speak. My laptop was in there which had the Power Point for my presentation. My wallet was in there with $80.00 in cash and my Passport and all my documents.

Hind sight being 20/20 I should have grabbed the wallet and Passport but such is life. The only person at U.S. Airways with any competence was the woman in baggage claim, she went over and beyond to help me, thank you …………..

She called and found out the bag was still in Phoenix and nether of us could figure out why. The bottom line was I wasn’t getting the bag until 3 pm the next day and I was speaking at 11:30 am. (as a side note, they never delivered the bag the next day either)

Now what????

Since I had my debit card I had a taxi take me to a 24 hour Wal-Mart and I spent $70 buying decent clothes so I didn’t look like a hobo when I spoke. I got to the hotel at midnight just drained and dejected.

I still had to iron the clothes so by the time I went to bed and woke up; I only got 4 hours of sleep. Despite everything that had happened I had to focus on speaking and making sure I rocked it, this is my dream after all.

The story of what happened made a good opening to the speech and I remembered the material as much as I could. I was told by the conference organizer it went well, and I made some great connections in the audience. All in all it was a good learning experience. At the time though, I was screaming bloody murder.

Here are a few things I learned from this experience:

  • Even chasing your dreams can have stress. This should be obvious but we’re always surprised when things like this happen. No matter what we do in life there will be stressful times, the key is to not let them derail you from your path. I easily could have just given up and bombed the speech, making the excuse that I didn’t have my stuff. I had to focus on “why” I was there and I had no choice but to give it 110% despite the circumstances and you will have to do this too.
  • Don’t assume anything. I assumed my bag would be there so I didn’t take the time to get the important things out of the bag. I assumed that the people behind me would get upset if I spent time fumbling around in my bag holding up the line. I assumed that I would have my laptop so I didn’t back up my speech. I had a teacher that used to say “assumption is the tool of the devil”, we should always plan for the worse but hope for the best.
  • It’s really not the end of the world. I wrote a post about this very thing but despite all that happened I was still in another state speaking at an awesome conference about something that I believe, this is my dream and I was doing it. In the end I got my bag (minus the stolen $80) with the things that were important, I made some great connections and have added to my platform, all is all, a good trip. When you’re chasing your dreams and you hit that bump just remember that you can get through and flourish despite of it.

I’m preaching to the choir so I don’t need to tell you those frustrating, stressful things happen no matter what, but how have you dealt with them in the past? Have you let them defeat you?

If you have been defeated in the past, use it as a learning experience and motivation to push ahead and accomplish everything you dream of in life. After it’s all said and done you’ll look back at it and laugh or use that experience to help others.

What’s one stressful thing that has happened to you as you chase your dreams?

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Comment by Jeff David on July 14, 2012 at 4:16pm

I love this. Previously I would read too much into this thinking that it was a sign. Not the case. We have to wade through the mud to get to the flowers.

Comment by Kimanzi Constable on July 5, 2012 at 6:21pm

Thank you Nate, Peter and Gary. I appreciate all the compliments and you sharing your stories, it's really inspiring to me! I hope to look back on this and laugh :)


Comment by Gary M Foote on July 5, 2012 at 6:05pm


Another great post. Good way to look at the ""silver lining"" and not get overwhelmed with the storm in front of you. I've had a lot of mishaps along the way too. My favorite one was my wife being very sweet and packing for me. I showed up read to change and discovered that she packed an old pair of my grandfather's slacks that he left at our house years ago that were about 5 sizes too big for me and forgot to pack my shoes. It's good to laugh at those things and keep up moving. You're doing an awesome job!

Comment by Peter A Ferguson on July 3, 2012 at 9:06pm
I think your experience is called a Baptism by Fire! It's all downhill from here, you've passed your test.

Thanks for sharing. Some of my best speeches occurred after a computer crashed or my notes were left behind.


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