It’s 2002. The dot.com collapse has happened. Business is in a funk. Nobody is making decisions about anything. Aggressive indecision is settling in. It was a pretty dismal time.
Up to that point, I’d been online since 1982. In the 90’s, I’d built a remarkable career riding the wave of the emerging Internet, providing audiences worldwide insight into the disruptive impact it would have on business, and the remarkable business opportunities it was presenting. I’d been in the media all the time; had several successful radio shows; was co-writing 34 books; I had media crews coming to my house to interview me for the national news.
And then it all came crashing down. The dot.com collapse had the potential to kill my career.
Around this time, I had been booked to go on stage and headline a national SAP event in Toronto, Canada, my home town. I was kind of pissed off, to be honest. At my circumstances. At the disbelief in how people had lost initiative and their belief in the future.
I took the fire in my belly onto the stage.
I told a story about frogs I had seen on a road in Texas the previous week while speaking at an event at the Woodlands Resort. I made the story up on stage on the fly. I spun into the story of the frogs the problem in the world of business today. I spoke about my son and the power of initiative that I saw in him he was 3 years old. I told the audience they had to get out of their self-imposed funk.
I was probably talking to myself. I had to get out of my own funk. I was yelling at myself on stage. This is how it unfolded.
That little performance – captured above – was one of those moments that truly change my life. A fellow named Lloyd Adams – now a senior executive with SAP – saw me catch fire on stage, and immediately booked me to headline a similar event for SAP in Chicago the next week. That led to another event. Another booking. A career reinvention based on a new message. A massive change in my circumstances.
It all goes back to those 3 minutes (cut down to 2:20 for Twitter). From there, I never looked back. I turned the story of the Frogs into a book; the book into a keynote; the keynote into a reinvented career.
And listen to my closing line. “There’s lots more yet to come!” After that came Youtube, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, #IOT, self driving cars, 3d printing and so much more. We’d barely scratched of the future in 2002.
Lesson learned: It’s never too late to reinvent. You just need the right spark! And never believe those who tell you the future has no more surprises. It always does!