I was hired to create a training for business owners in Tirana, Albania.
I was fitted with a microphone and informed that translation would simultaneous. The training would be recorded and photographed and submitted to local media channels.
I was thrilled and patiently waited to be called in.
As I made my way to the front of the room I could see every seat was filled. About 30 business people from from the area were dressed up, notes in hand, and ready to go. I had decided to cover five ways to grow their business in the new year and to include hot seats so I could give specific ideas depending on the business type. Thankfully the group was completely onboard with full engagement and I didn’t have to beg for participants. The first man to raise his hand had fallen out of love with his business. He manages 250 employees and somewhere in the last couple years, he lost his joy and lost sight of his vision.
One by one they opened their hearts and shared the challenges they were facing in their businesses.
All were brick and mortar and incredibly open to my ideas. The two and a half hours flew by and we had a great time together. As I was gathering my notebook and purse I was asked to wait to speak to a journalist who was on her way. She has an afternoon television segment where she interviews travelers and she was interested in hearing more about what brought me to Albania.
She asked if I was available on Tuesday.
Without opening my calendar I said yes. Truthfully, I only had lunch on my mind and figured I could re-arrange clients easily enough. When I got home I realized that Tuesday was my 40th birthday! Tuesday arrived and I was given specific instructions on where to go for hair and make-up.
When the taxi pulled up to the studio I had to smile.
I have walked by this studio many times and when we first arrived in Tirana, I told Derek I would get my make-up done there for my birthday. Here it was, my birthday and I had the best artist doing my make-up! I was escorted to the television studio and while lightening and audio were being tested the hostess quickly gave me a run down of what we would cover. She also informed me that we would do as much as possible in Albanian.
I took a couple deep breaths and really believed I was ready.
What I didn’t know was the studio had prepared an introduction video that would open the segment. I could see it on the monitor and for the first minute it felt like I was watching someone else’s life. The video then shifted from my professional life to some of my favorite photos of family and travel. I felt my face get hot and it hit me, this is MY life. This is the life I created! It took everything I had not to cry. My mind was flashing back and forth and it felt like a Slum Dog Millionaire moment…it was amazing to think of how many decisions and events lined up for me to be sitting where I was, when I was.
It took 39 years of experimentation and adventure for me to put it all together.
I’m completing my family this year. I’m now living in my favorite place in the world. I just figured out how to be both a humanitarian and a business woman. And this year I learned how to make my work sacred and meaningful.
And I’ve only just begun.