On Saturday morning, I did not have a connection scheduled for today. I knew going into this project that the biggest hurdle would be finding people to meet on the weekend. I started reviewing places I could go to meet people on Sunday, planning when I would head out and made one final reach out on social media to find someone to meet. If nothing else, I had already met six new people who might have someone for me to meet. What I got was an introduction from Katryna Johnson (Day 1) to someone who truly helped me put things into perspective for this project.
To call Dianne Shaver remarkable would be a bit of an understatement. She carries herself with an incredible honesty, it is palpable when you speak with her. I have met a few people like her before, but not many, and they are a genuine wonder to be around. Dianne is a writer, a coach and an entrepreneur among so many other things. Like all of us, she is difficult to label with a single word.
We talked about everything. Truly no subject was off the table. Politics, health, Charleston, the weather, spirituality...even I was a valid topic. I set off on this journey knowing that I would learn a great deal about myself, but the perfect way to wrap up a week was to speak to someone so insightful, who could call me on the moments when I stumbled from my integrity.
That's a word and a characteristic we all often talk about. It's one value we truly want, something we hope to embody and one that I have held as a core value for years. Integrity seems pretty easy when we are addressing black and white moral spaces. I always flash back to my time in the military when we would say that integrity was "having the courage to do the right thing when no one is looking." While it's true that integrity is the quality of being honest and morally upright, Dianne reminded me today that it is also about being whole and undivided.
"Do you want a regular job?"
It's the simple questions that get us and, in my mind, they are also the mark of a great coach. I plainly didn't have an answer, so I thought about it for a second.
"I don't know. Well, if I'm honest with myself...no."
"If I'm honest with myself," that phrase was doubly problematic because it not only revealed that I may be kidding myself, but it also showed the truth that I was not whole. Integrity shows that I don't want a company job. Working corporate made me miserable. Working for a tech startup wasn't much better. I even left the military because I didn't love it anymore and it was time to move on. It's never been about money. Even this project is not about monetizing the effort, it is about doing something just to do it. I love this project. I am compelled to do it. I'm not worried about money or title, prestige or status. In truth, I've forgotten I'm in a race, I just love to run.
That's when Dianne reveals to me another point, I am an entrepreneur.
In the military we talk about finding a mentor, someone to guide you through their experience and to challenge you to become better. It is the same outside of the military. I have had a number of mentors. A great deal of time was spent looking for accomplished people to show me the way, to teach me and help me learn from the benefits of their wisdom. A lot of books and articles will guide you to researching people you want to meet, understand them, qualify them. It occurs to me after my time with Dianne that the greatest wisdom in my life has come from people I encountered on the road, in an airport, during the World Series or on a Sunday at a corporate bookstore between rain cycles.
There was so much in this two hour meeting that I will be unpacking it in my mind for the next couple of days at least, but I already feel a great sense of calm. There is so much more I can learn, so many more conversations to be had with Dianne, a person I may never have run into on my own. A person introduced to me by someone I just met.
Someone who taught me in an afternoon that it's not if I'm being honest with myself, it is that I am honest with myself.
What is your facorite animal? Wizard the Whippet (a breed of dog I confess I knew nothing about)
Why? Because when you look at him you can tell he has a soul.