Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Downtown Motivation Vacation

"Get past your past."
 -- Tamara Lowe, founder of Get Motivated Seminars

My friend Glenda invited me to Get Motivated!, a full day business seminar with successful speakers from politics, sports, and business. Attending this event was a departure from my normal daily diet of watching online streaming quotes, but well worth the effort.  I arose at 5:51 am and left the house by 7:15 am. Glenda and I met at the Ream's parking lot and we headed downtown.

We had seats in an executive section, an excellent vantage point for seeing the stage.  The stage grew dark and we were treated to indoor fireworks.  The hurried hoofing in my patent leather, high heel sling backs left me with ferocious blisters on my feet which I addressed in the darkness of the Energy Solutions Arena (ESA), while Kyle Wittingham was speaking about channeling 90 hours a week of his energy towards University of Utah football during the fall season.  I carefully sandwiched myself down and bandaged two toes, one on each foot (at least I injure symmetrically!). Yes, I do carry bandaids, always.

The moderator wore a metallic gold skirt.  As Colin Powell was introduced, I concluded I must add a flashy gold pencil skirt to my wardrobe as an additional armor of success. Really.  Colin Powell humorously shared his journey from City College of New York in Harlem to becoming a four star general and Secretary of State.  Then during the break, I met Lisa, another casualty of unemployment, who is starting her own business after completing a health and nutrition certification.  How truly inspirational, just as brave as Glenda who is pursuing her own business also.

The group Quick Change baffled me with an array of outfit changes on stage.  With no magician or private dressing room, these strange and amazing dancers must've changed outfits about ten times.  And I snagged a few pieces of inspirational metallic streamer confetti (see pile below) which was shot from the top of the arena.
My cheerful little pile of metallica
 I was on the edge of my seat.  John Walsh related the events surrounding his son Adam's disappearance and murder.  Walsh and his wife "saddled up" to get through the horrific experience and in the process, they are ensuring that other parents in their situation have better resources to protect and save their children from Adam's tragedy.  After Bob Kittrell gave a stock market primer, I signed up for his class later in June.  Tamara Lowe, founder of Get Motivated Seminars, shared her story of rising about her teen years as a New Orleans high school dropout / drug user and dealer to eventually work with six US presidents and own the largest seminar company of its kind in the US.   Those who signed up for an investment seminar were directed to the VIP section, where the acoustics were poor, but Jason's Deli lunch and bottled water were most welcome.  Somehow the ESA manager forgot to turn on the air conditioning and I was quite parched.

After lunch, status updates were sent and received via text.  Phil in Geneva was giving me summary versions of email sent earlier in the day, Glenda was at Biaggi across the street with business associates and was wondering when the seminar would resume, Angela was delighted that I found her a potential client if she could do Reiki symbols in pastels, and Celeste excitedly shared news that she passed her state cosmetology boards.  I was texting my brother to see how the Dow was faring.  When he didn't respond, I finally got Ang to respond, but with a warning that I need an iPhone.  And Annemarie, my now former partner in unemployment, said she is saturated from her week-long orientation in Philly. 

A little kid beat all the adults on stage and danced his way to win a trip to Disneyworld in Orlando.  The dance party was intriguing to watch, but I felt a little strange dancing at a business function.  Not the guy down the aisle and up a row, who was majorly rocking out.  I wish I had a video.  After that was done, Rudy Guliani related gripping stories about the events surrounding September 11, 2001 and how he led New York City during a time of unprecedented attack and subsequent emergency. Guliani was followed by Zig Ziglar, accompanied by his editor/daughter because he has difficulties with short-term memory as the result of a fall three years ago.  Ziglar was a crowd pleaser, in spite of his difficulties, who hailed his marriage repeatedly and noted that the most important characteristic to adopt in one's life is integrity. Next was Apolo Anton Ohno, who related that "preparation gives you the chance to confront demons," in reference to his path to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. 

The clouds aren't moving!  Glenda was first to notice the fake background scenery during Mitt Romney's presentation via satellite.  Romney talked about the "challenge" of recruiting Olympics volunteers and told the crowd to get a life, because so doing was more controllable than being lucky in one's career.  (One little sidenote clarification for Romney: I had spent the year before the 2002 Olympics preparing to be a volunteer ... I did the piles of paperwork, background check, registration, orientation, and training.  But after he took over, volunteers suddenly were required to be available 24/7 for the three weeks of the Olympics.  Even though I had arranged alternative work scheduling, my bosses would not allow me to have three weeks completely off work, and I had to forgo plum assignments in the figure skaters lounge and at the aerial skiing venue. Somehow, oddly, my name's on the marble Olympic volunteer wall at Gateway. Good to be recognized for what I would have liked to have done.)

The home stretch had its share of excitement.  The guy who spoke after Romney, Dave Smith, did a good-humored, lively real estate investment pitch, with attention-getting statistics such as "89% of all people who make $50,000 or more own a business" and phrases describing investment strategies lacking substance such as a "pinata with no candy."  One of the best speeches I have ever seen.  Then Sarah Palin spoke on how basketball coaching great John Wooden's advice was applicable in basketball and in life.  Only about 5% of the original audience remained for the Internet click and sell guy, because the afternoon ran way behind schedule and Palin didn't finish until 5:30 pm.  I felt bad for the guy and we stayed for part but not all of his presentation on clicking for profit.

My notes and admission ticket ... $225? really?

Politics were not a core message.  For my liberal leaning amigos who have read this far and groaned about the lineup of more Republican speakers, please recall that Powell endorsed Obama's presidential run and Guliani is probably as liberal as any Utah Democrat.  And this girl endorses no party, well possibly the pool party I'm going to next weekend or my birthday party.  But please understand the seminar wasn't about politics nor was it a political convention, though it definitely had the "rah rah" atmosphere (sans balloon drop).  I'm guessing the Get Motivated Seminars company doesn't draw names out of a hat to assemble their speaker lineup, but they likely use regional market research data on which speakers will attract the largest audience.  Just guessing on that ... I really don't know.

The path to leadership is built a day at a time, and not without difficulties along the way.  Generally, my overall impression of the day was positive, and learning from so many successful people in a single day was an excellent use of my time.  All of the inspiration, of course, did not dissolve the blisters on my feet from the hike between the Gateway and ESA.  What's most important is getting beyond one's past mistakes, embracing the resources of the present, moving toward the future, and treating people fairly and respectfully along the way.  {whew}

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