It was cold, dark and I was barely awake.
Stumbling through the shadows, I saw my friend Ruth coming over to the security gate to ‘claim’ me.
It was the night of the Relay for Life in Manchester NH, and I had volunteered to walk the track from 1am – 3am, raising money for the fight against cancer.
Why did I pick this time slot? According to the sign-up sheet, nobody else had.
Why do I continue to participate in the Relay for Life?
Because cancer sucks.
It has taken far too many people who were special to me including my friend Danny, who passed away the same year (1992) that he’d convinced me to go make my dream job (radio) happen. I am thankful he lived just long enough for me to get that first gig.
The first hour of my Relay was the Hawaiian shirt hour. Mine barely fit over my sweatshirt and long-sleeved t-shirt. Imagine the Michelin Man going Hawaiian!
I was fortunate to not be alone, trudging around in the darkness. Another member of Ruth’s team was high-school junior named Nick.
Part of my connection to Ruth was her generous writing of two recent newspaper articles about my acts of kindness, motivational speaking and books. When she introduced me to Nick, she mentioned that I also own an entertainment company (having been a DJ and emcee for 20+ years).
From that moment until just after 3am, the coolest mentor session I’ve ever enjoyed was ON!
Nick recently started his own DJ business and was wondering how to grow it.
When I asked him what he’d like to do as a career, he said he’d love to be a sports radio host.
I then told him everything I could remember about how I created my successful 10-year-radio career.
He mentioned he was interested in seeking out an internship.
That was how I got my first radio job. Key words to remember: Volunteer for EVERYTHING. There is ALWAYS someone watching!
Nick then shared that a friend of his was an intern, and recently got a HUGE opportunity down in Boston!
Have you ever been asked: “If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?”
I felt like I *was* talking to my younger self!
Despite sharing my motivational messages with hundreds of audiences over the past decade, I am going to rank this year’s Relay for Life in Manchester NH as one of the greatest mentoring moments I have ever enjoyed.
As I walked the track, sharing stories of my career, it’s learning lessons and my friend Danny inspiring the actions that led to all of this, I couldn’t help but think that it’s come full-circle.
While driving home, I wondered: What are the odds that I would be there at the exact moment to have joyfully shared all of this with someone who was in search of his next step to make HIS dreams come true?
There are moments all around us every day, just waiting to happen.
Be aware, and do something with them…even just ONE of them.
You just never know who might be there, in need of a spark.
Thank you Ruth, for putting everything into motion for me to make two hours of my life mean so much to me, and to be able to encounter such a cool young soul AND help such a great cause (the fight against cancer) in the process!