November 1st, 2010
Total Distance for today: 0
Total Distance for Trip: approx. 233 miles
LOCATION: Fowlerville, MI
STATUS: Briefly in Michigan for a meeting at the Mayor’s Office in Detroit about the Entrepreneurial Academy
Travel and How Visions Become Realities
Today, I flew from Baltimore, MD to Detroit, MI. As I’ve been saying, I have a meeting at the Mayor’s Office in Detroit about the Academy for Entrepreneurs on Thursday. It’s strange really: When I first started telling people that I was going to make this skate across America, they kept asking what I would do when I finished. I had toyed with the idea of building an Academy for Entrepreneurs for some time, but I had never really thought about how to actualize that dream. The skate, for me, seemd to be something of a launchpad for further opportunities, and so I set it in my mind to move on to building the Academy after the skate. I could not have guessed at that time how well I would be position, this early on, to make that happen.
From the first day that I met the president of my sponsor company, APV, I knew it was the beginning of what would be a long and very important business-relationship. We discovered during our first phone conversation that we shared the same vision for using business as a vehicle to produce social change. We also shared a vision for an Academy for Entrepreneurs. It was more than just a bit uncanny how much our visions lined up. We’ve discussed back and forth (through myriads of text messages! ;-)) where the Academy would be located. He thought Pitsburgh, because he already has connections there, but for some reason, I’ve just known it needs to be in Detroit; the city needs it more than any other American city. He challenged me to get a meeting with the Mayor to discuss the Academy and some other business development opportunities. I took him up on it, and though our first meeting is with his Group Planning Executive, I have little doubt that we will soon be having a sit down with Mayor Bing himself.
This success came much earlier in this whole tour than I expected, and it’s further encouraging me to believe that my original vision for the tour will most certainly come to fruition, but it goes beyond that. I recently had a great conversation with Al Curtis from the Insights Group in Brighton, MI about the current state of the tour, and he said something that I’ve been beginning to believe more and more: This skate is important and will be powerful, but it is only the buildup to and launch of a vision that will be much bigger and even more important. I believe this Academy and overall project to build a “new Detroit” are a part of that greater vision, and I’m experiencing a strange certainty that I’ve felt before. It’s the same certainty that said, “No matter what, I will find a way to make this skate happen; sponsor or no sponsor, money or no money, I will show up, and I will skate.” And so I did. I’m feeling that same certainty again for what may be one of the most important pieces of the legacy I leave behind on this small blue dot in the universe. 😉
I can’t describe these moments of certainty and resolve. They don’t happen with all of the decisions I make and certainly not with the trivial. All I know is that two weeks out from beginning this tour, I had no sponsor, no money, no follow-vehicle, and no hot leads on a sponsor that I expected to panout. Three days before the beginning of the tour, Dillon and I had closed a deal with our sponsor for the $15,000 we needed in startup funds to buy the filming equipment and the used motor-home.
Now I’m sitting here again with a much bigger challenge to tackle in this Academy (plus the skate still to be finished!), but I feel that same certainty deep inside my bones. With each passing day, my resolve grows stronger and my desire more poignant. It’s as if the monumental size of this project is of no consequence, for my intention is set, and my eyes are focused on the goal. Slowly, I’m learning to build that form of self-trust that knows full well to expect obstacles to come, but that also knows that when the time comes, I will walk right through them.
I’m back home for a few days, and it is good to see my family again. I’ve obviously missed them, but my mind is elsewhere: It’s on the task ahead, the undiscovered trail, and the mountain to be overcome. The greatest challenges lie both ahead and within, and I am more eager to face them now than ever before.