It's Bodine here.
When my wife suggested I write up this story as a blog post, I was quite reluctant. This was one of the most personal and profound experiences I've ever had in 20 years of being a professional speaker.
But my wife insisted. And, truth be told, she's one of those people who's opinion is almost always right.
> I was invited to be the after-breakfast opening speaker at a conference of plumbing & heating contractors -- a much more lively audience than you might first assume.
They hired me to be the opening speaker for their three-day event. And they wanted me to share my proven method for gaining leverage to create desired results, with their association members & their spouses,
In the first part of this method, as I communicate it in my keynote speeches, I ask everyone in the audience two fundamental "activating questions:"
1. From this point forward in your life, what do you truly want to create?
. . . and. . .
2. How good can you stand it?
I went on to also share an action-mapping tool that might be the best thing I've ever discovered. And I closed with some interactive entertainment that added some laughter & energy, and served to get their event started on an enthusiastic upbeat note.
So, I was feeling really good as I stepped off the speaker's platform to mingle with the audience as they were gathering up their belongings to move on to the next session on the conference agenda.
A woman approached me with an energy that told me she really wanted to talk to me in some personal way. (This is no surprise to any speaker who has just managed to "connect" with an audience.)
Little did I know I was in for the surprise of my life.
She asked me to step out into the hallway. And then she asked me to step around the nearest hallway corner. At that point my curiosity kicked in.
"What can this be about?"
Once we were around the corner, and had some measure of privacy, as she had intended, she softly grabbed both of my hands, and said, "I've been recently diagnosed with a terminal cancer, and all the doctors have told me I only have six months to live. So I came on this conference trip with my husband, to plan my own funeral."
She was now in tears, and I felt them coming on for myself, as she continued, "But after hearing your talk just now, I've decided to go back to my hotel room and plan out what I want to do with the rest of my life instead."
She hugged me with a full wrap-around of her arms, and whispered in my ear, "Thank you so much."
Then she turned and walked away, around the hallway corner.
I couldn't move. I couldn't even think.
As you probably know, "verklempt" is a Yiddish term than means "overcome with emotion." And at that moment, I was as verklempt as a person can possibly be.
By the time I recovered my composure and walked out to the main hallway, she was gone. And I realized she didn't even tell me her name. But that hug is still resonating within me, and will continue to do so for some time to come.
And as you might imagine, I've had some deep realizations from that encounter.
Without ever really admitting it to ourselves, we all have only a limited amount of time left in our lives. And it is up to us to choose what we really want to do with that time.
And that kind of fundamental choice has tremendous organizing power.
Bye for now.