In 2011 myself plus four other entrepreneurs from Brisbane, Australia had a crazy idea. We decided to hire a 45-foot bus, a driver, and drive around the USA visiting other awesome entrepreneurs. The impact on my life, and my fellow travellers was life changing.
Ultimately hanging out with like-minded people who have the same challengers was fun. My biggest take away was about change. If I want to achieve great things I need to get comfortable with constant change. To change is to grow. I’ve tried to follow that ethos in the years after that trip, and right now I feel like I’m growing faster than ever before.
There was one profound experience I still think about today. Our bus trip ended at the Entrepreneurs Organisations (EO) Texas University (conference) in Houston. Twice a year EO members can register for once-in-a-lifetime conferences around the world, which include amazing speakers and inspiring peers. It’s on another level (I’m about to attend my fifth in Hyderabad, India). The keynote speaker at the EO Texas conference was the co-creator of the computer game Guitar Hero. Super inspiring. Hockey stick growth. Successful exit. Aerosmith sold more music through that game than they did during their whole career! But that wasn’t the profound experience I mentioned earlier.
There was a food-bank happening across the road inside a convention centre and I volunteered to help out. This was one of the breakout learning sessions. My job was to fill in a short form on the people collecting food to feed their families. One of the questions on the form was the household’s yearly income. The options were $0 to $3,000, $3,000 to $5,000, $5,000 to $10,000 and $10, 000 plus. I would have filled in hundreds of forms that day. When it was time for me to finish up I was shocked to realised about 90% of the households were in the $0 to $3,000 category, living in one of the most wealthiest countries in the world.
I felt strange. How could we, as a society, let this happen? What has gone wrong? I shared some memorable conversations that day. I saw the defeat in their eyes and felt (as much as an outsider could) their pain. I wondered about what was the difference between those who gained power and those who are forgotten.
Ultimately I keep coming back to education and knowledge; the foundations of choices. That day inspired me to make a difference. Today I (we) took the first step.