When I woke up Monday morning at the Cypress Hyatt Resort ready to start the Seize the Day Raise the C in ymCa Conference, I asked God to guide me. After a month of planning and fundraising to attend this conference, I was certain He was calling me there to meet someone whom I was to help or who was going to help me.
In the hotel lobby, I saw two people sitting by a sign that said, “Seize the Day!” I asked them if this is where I check in for the conference. They told me the check in tables were downstairs. Then I struck up a conversation with the lady at the table, Nancy. Nancy was at the conference alone and so was I. We easily became friends. Later I discovered, she was one of the people God intended for me to meet.
After I checked in downstairs, I met many other friendly people. Then my stomach growled and I realized that I hadn’t had lunch. There was no food at the conference until 6 pm. So I quickly went back upstairs to the bar, and asked the bartender what he had to eat that was fast. He quickly served me a bowl of soup and his hotel’s grilled Mahi tacos.
The Mahi tacos were giant! They needed two hands to hold it. I knew I wasn’t going to have time to eat both tacos and felt sad that one of them would be thrown away. Someone else God wanted me to meet, Gerard, walked up to the bar. He was hungry and in a hurry. I offered him the taco I had not yet touched. He looked at me sizing me up. Then he smiled and took my offer. The taco was so delicious, we became instant friends!
Gerard and I went down to the conference together. The music and opening speakers were so inspirational! It was total joy being there! After the opening session there were 9 different breakout sessions to choose from. They all looked good to me. I ran into Nancy while people were scattering to their classes. I told her I was having a hard time choosing. She told me that she heard the Transformational Leadership speaker Ford Taylor was going to be outstanding. I am so glad God intended for me to meet Nancy because Ford Taylor’s breakout sessions were exactly where God called me to be.
During the second evening of the conference, I went into the dining hall and looked for a place to sit. Most of the tables were full of people. I noticed a table up front only had one jacket by a chair. I decided to sit by the jacket so its owner wouldn’t have to sit alone.
I was so surprised when my new friend Gerard came and sat beside me. It was his jacket! While we ate dinner, no one else joined us. All the other tables were full. I told Gerard that it was such a coincidence that out of over 200 people, we were unexpectedly placed together. Then I told him my story of how I was called to attend the conference to meet someone that either I was going to help or who was going to help me. I was certain that he was the one…just not sure why. We tried figuring it out together but didn’t have an answer that evening.
The next morning, there was a continental breakfast before the last breakout session. I got there in time to grab a bagel before my session but wasn’t hungry. I wrote my name on a napkin and placed my bagel on top of it. I placed it on a table in the big hall where our closing ceremony would be and then attended my last breakout session.
Gerard was a session hopper and tried lots of different classes. I stuck with the four part series on transformational leadership with Ford Taylor. It was fascinating to me. Ford taught us about the difference between transactional people and relational people in the workplace and how they often found each other annoying. He also spoke about leadership that can transform work place culture. His best talk was on that last morning. In it he told how to give and receive a 6 step apology.
At the end of that session he was able to offer us his online training for transformational leadership at a discounted rate. Gerard and I were excited to bring this information back to our YMCA’s and signed up after class.
When we finished signing up, we went into the big hall for the closing ceremony of the conference. I told Gerard I wasn’t sure where I was sitting. He laughed and said he knew exactly where my seat was because he went in the room earlier and saw my bagel with my name on the napkin. He had placed his jacket next to it.
When we sat down together, the music started playing. It was very inspirational and upbeat.
Suddenly, God showed me the inside of my heart. In it was a friend whom I accidentally said something a while back that hurt my friend’s feelings. My friend lashed back at me and hurt mine too. It changed our friendship. I started crying and Gerard was surprised to see me suddenly sad. He asked me to go outside to tell him what was wrong.
I quickly walked out the conference hall to the outside of the building. Gerard followed me out. Nancy saw us and followed us out too. So did another gentleman named Roger whom I met at the conference. The three of them huddled with me outside and started praying for me. They were so kind. Between sobs, I told them I discovered why God sent me to the Seize the Day Conference.
He did it so that I could have the tools to apologize to my friend. God brought me to the conference so that I will not be a bitter person as I age, but a better person and better leader too.
When I arrived back in Arizona, I met with my friend. I told my friend about the conference and about how to give a six step apology. Then I gave it. My friend was pleasantly surprised. It restored our friendship. If you look back and read the whole leap of faith ten part series, you will see that God answered my prayer on helping me to forgive others. He took it one step further and taught me how to also ask for forgiveness.
I am so thankful that I took the leap of faith and trusted God to guide me. I am thankful too to the friends who helped me along my journey to get to the Seize the Day Conference and to the kind new friends I met there. I am also thankful to everyone who worked hard to put on the conference.
It was a joyful, inspiring event full of learning opportunities and a blessing to us attendees. If anyone would like to learn more about transformational leadership and how to give a six step apology, go to http://www.tlondemand.com/