When I was invited to speak to over 1000 employees, community leaders, and residents in Jasper, Indiana, I accepted with excitement. Why? Yes, I would be paid for each engagement plus all travel expenses. But there were other incredible "it was meant to happen" reasons.
Over a 2 day period, 5 engagements on June 3 and 1 evening engagement on June 4, I would be speaking at the Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center, a large facility sponsored by the sisters of the Little Company of Mary. And we say "timing"? Exactly 3 weeks before the talk, I was having a Thyroidectomy at the Providence Little Company of Mary Hospital here in Torrance, California. And I already adored this hospital, after being treated like a queen in a castle when I had a 15-plus hour Double Mastectomy there in 2009. Another reason I accepted with excitement? I was already planning to fly to Indianapolis the following weekend to surprise my closest sister Diane on her 60th birthday! That's "timing", again.
I must say, now almost 6 weeks later, that this was one of my favorite speaking engagements ever. From my relaxing country-road drive from Indianapolis to Jasper to lodging in a special upstairs room overlooking a beautiful horse-filled ranch to being warmly greeted and appreciated by audiences of all ages and types, I couldn't have asked for more. Sister Rose Mary Rexing escorted me to each talk in addition to treating me to many extras during my stay, including meals at the locals' favorite spots, a live concert at the majestic Monastery and an afternoon walk around Jasper's historical plaza. Even my 30-minute PowerPoint presentations were flawless!
But there was another "cherry on top". My good friend, Dan Brumett, a Hermosa Beach resident, is from a small town south of Jasper, where his mother and sister still live. Upon signing the presentation agreement, I informed Dan of this exciting endeavor, and he immediately contacted his family in Indiana. So before my 6th presentation on Thursday evening, in walks Dan's mother and sister! Having previously spoken with his mother on the phone, it was a joy to meet her in person. And she was doing so well at the age of 94 years old! The fact that they drove close to an hour each way to meet me and hear me speak meant the world.
As the client requested, in my presentations I had stressed the importance of teamwork, "giving back" and volunteering, caregivers, staying active with a healthy lifestyle, and accepting change, even the difficult ones. And I had shown how a positive attitude is key. Well, positive "word got around" about my talks. Sister Rose Mary shared that employees were coming in on their day off and lots were coming in early and staying after their workday ended to hear me. Even during the breaks and at lunchtime, I was greeted by many, expressing their thanks for my inspiring them. And just last week, I spoke with Sister Rose Mary who commented that she's still hearing positives about my talks - from the employees to sisters at the Monastery who were in attendance.
Knowing that I successfully achieved their goal - and mine - of motivating and inspiring individuals brings an even brighter smile to my face. And I know, I'm sure that this "was meant to happen".