This past week has been incredible. I spent three days in Santa Barbara seeing old friends and colleagues and making new friends that I look forward to connecting with in the future. The feedback I have received from my training curriculum and Pop Talk has been amazing and truly keeps my passion alive.
I am so blessed to have real friendships with professionals across the country. People I have met through the course of my career who I trust and admire, who I call for guidance when I am considering making changes in my life and in my professional journey. People who care for me genuinely and always take the time to spend with me and talk with me. In the last couple of months, I have gotten to see and spend time with each of these people who I consider my own personal Board of Directors. And not only have I gotten to see them at conferences or work, or in their homes, but I have gotten to have those heart-to-heart conversations that, for me, are life changing.
When I left Santa Barbara on Wednesday last week I was driving down to Orange County to train staff at a treatment center. I lived in Hollywood for many many years and CA holds a very special place in my heart. I try to spend as much time as possible on the West coast and my business has blessed me with that opportunity. I have a wonderful friend who owns a treatment center in Hollywood, so I called him to see if he had some time to hang out. This person is not only an amazing and kind human being, but he operates his business with integrity and authenticity and his life is about helping others. Exactly the kind of person I love to surround myself with.
I met him at his treatment center, we had coffee and spent time catching up, we went and had dinner and talked about business and how we want to grow, we talked about our ethics and how important they are. I loved each and every moment we spent together and I always feel like I learn so much from him. Eventually I had to leave to make the hour drive to Orange County and as I was driving I found all of my thoughts were dripping in gratitude. Gratitude for my life, my business, my future. But more importantly, gratitude for having people who love and care about friendship and who value taking the time to nurture that connection and understand how fulfilling and wonderful it is.
On Friday night, I called another friend to see if he had time to hang out. It turned into yet another incredible night. We had dinner and caught up on all the regular life things, then we went to the beach and sat in the sand watching the waves crash against the shore. The sky was dark, the waves were enormous, and my friend and I got to talk about our real life stuff. Our fears and our dreams, our revelations and our mistakes. Spending time, taking time, to make a true connection with someone important to me.
I also had the opportunity to have a couple of days off between training regimens so I decided to drive over to Phoenix to see one of my BFFs. He was my dearest friend all the years I lived in Hollywood, we were inseparable and I love him as though he is a part of me. He just had his second baby Thursday, he has another son, and he has a wife that may be the best wife on the planet, and his family was my second family for many years. Although I only got to stay around for a mere 24 hours, I have never been so happy. There are so many things you miss when you don’t see someone everyday and there are so many milestones he has accomplished with his wife and family, and I don’t get to share those moments with him since I live across the country. But I had 24 hours to be in his home, to hold his brand new son and revel in his soft perfect skin, to play catch with his 3 year old, and to connect with his wife who is so important to me.
On the six hour drive back to Orange County I was going over my week in my head. I get very homesick when my dog doesn’t travel with me. He is my true partner in crime. He goes most everywhere with me, he has his own chair in my office right next to mine and he lays there faithfully every moment I am working. When I leave the home office to see clients, he goes with me to that office also. He usually travels with me too. And when he is not with me I naturally feel a little sad and a little lonely. But this week, although I miss him, my heart and soul feel so full of love and gratitude. Almost every moment of this trip has been filled with laughing, learning, making deals, looking toward my future and all the promise it holds. I have had hours of real connection with real friends, true friends.
Many people don’t realize that I am a total introvert. I am introspective, I spend a lot of time alone with my dog, I love to read and write and research. I have a thirst for knowledge that is exhausting and I want to read about and know about everything in my industry. I want to be the best person I can be, the best sober person I can be, the best trainer I can be, and the best coach I can be. For me, that means I have to have the knowledge. They say the nature of an introvert is we crave deep connection in all conversations with all people; that is why we get overwhelmed in social situations with a lot of people because we want deep connection with individuals rather than surface socialization in big numbers. This entire week has been filled with deep connection for me. And the realization I had, on my drive back to Orange County from Phoenix, was that I would not have any of these opportunities if I weren’t sober. I owe my entire life to my sobriety and all the people who teach me how to be better and stay sober everyday.
I didn’t necessarily make a choice one day to get sober. I had an event that left me bloody and broken and almost cost someone their life. Alcohol was no longer an option for me. In that moment, knowing I would never take another drink, I could have never known what life had in store for me. I never could have imagined the person I would grow into and the professional journey the universe had in store for me. And as I sit, feeling so full of sobriety and gratitude, I realize that the only way I got to be this person is because of all of those people through the years who have taken the time to spend with me, talk with me, teach me, and nurture me. These friends and colleagues who allow me the time to have deep connection, who allow me to learn from them, and who fill me up until my cup is overflowing.
It’s all about love and gratitude, and I feel so grateful to recognize it.