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Something New

experience mystery presentation Mar 08, 2023

I recently experienced something new. I had just finished a long and fulfilling day sharing the Game On Nation message with the Seattle Mariners Leadership Team and Business Operations Staff. I normally fly out as soon as possible, but in this case, the soonest possible was the red eye back to Tampa. This left me with four hours free, in a unique and fascinating city, that I don’t know very well.

So, what to do? Well, I can just head to the airport, chill in terminal B for the next few hours, and delight in the food options at Hudson News. Or I can go a different route, and embrace the mystery of this moment, explore this unfamiliar city, and experience something new. No offense to Terminal B and Hudson News, but I’ve been there, done that. With that, Seattle On!

There just so happened to be a Seattle aficionado at the front desk at my hotel and I shared with her this exciting opportunity and my desire to try something new. She immediately lit up, stepped up, and with genuine confidence, clarity, and care, showed me the way. That way led to one of Seattle’s’ most sought after restaurants…The Pink Door. Before I grabbed my Game On backpack and suitcase to head that way, she left me with this:

“Don’t judge a book by its cover. On the outside, it’s just an alley with an old, pink door, but on the inside, it’s something else!”

She was spot on. When I got there, it was just as she had claimed; An old, faded pink door off a tiny, side alley…but on the inside, it was something else. Behind that unassuming entrance was a room full of life, ambience, a three-piece jazz band, incredible food, impeccable service, healthy conversation, people authentically connecting, and a brand-new experience I’ll never forget.

This experience got me thinking from a public speaking and presentation lens; We can’t plan it all out, because we don’t always know what awaits us behind each door. You may think you have it all figured out and then, a curveball comes our way. You may enter that presentation and the room set up is not what you expected. You may enter that business meeting and get a question you didn’t see coming. You may enter that conversation and hear something you desperately needed to receive that day.

Whatever the case may be, the space may be, the presentation may be, enter that room, go to that meeting, engage in that interaction with some flexibility, an open mind, and embrace that mystery. As leaders, presenters, coaches, educators, we won’t always know what we’re walking into. Walk in anyway, with confidence, wonder, and awe. Trust me, if you stay flexible, and you have some people around you to help support you and show you the way, you’ll be in a much better place to embrace the mystery and take it all in.

I found myself in Seattle with three hours to spare before my red eye flight. I’m so grateful I was in that place, so thankful I was afforded the means, and so appreciative I had that guidance and time to enter that unassuming pink door. Inside was a room, an atmosphere, and an overall experience that was not what I expected. And I highly recommend the pesto, spinach lasagna. It was something else and…something new.

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