All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.
~ Galileo Galilei
The morning along Fisherman"s Wharf was warm and clear. After some instructions from the ride organizers, a group of fellow cyclists and I headed toward the Golden Gate Bridge.
On the Sausalito side of the bridge is a medium sized parking lot where buses stop to unload tourists looking photograph themselves in the foreground of the world"s most famous bridge and the City by the Bay.
For the past seven years, I have begun the day"s 90-some mile journey with a photograph of myself at the bridge with the hope that a second photograph would be taken at the conclusion of the day at Santa Cruz"s historic boardwalk.
After pleading with a nearby tourist to trade picture taking duties, I quickly posted the photo on my Facebook page and headed southward.
Lunch with old friends was pre-arranged at the Half Moon Bay Brewery, which gave me time to check for new e-mails while enjoying an unseasonably warm and sunny day instead of the normal gray skies.
Among the several Saturday e-mails was a note from my friend Lori who wrote that she had serendipitously seen my earlier Facebook post from the bridge and explained that she and her husband Bill would also be in Santa Cruz that evening and wanted to know if I was free to have dinner with them.
Over the next hour, we traded text messages arranging a good time and place to meet.
After reaching my final destination of the boardwalk, I scurried back to the hotel to clean up and meet my friends at a beachside restaurant in time to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
I originally met Lori while attending at special MBA program at MIT designed specifically for entrepreneurs who already had a business with revenues exceeding $2M. The general concept of the program was to teach students certain best-practice philosophies and then send the students back to their respective businesses to incorporate those principles into their companies.
While at dinner, I had the chance to meet Lori"s husband Bill, a business coach and consultant, as well as learn more about the specifics of her business.
After some general discussion about children, sports, and business, the conversation turned a bit more philosophical, as we discussed the idea of a rapidly changing world and the new innovations that were driving these changes.
I found myself captivated with the dialogue and opinions being offered by my dinner companions with regards to such topics as artificial intelligence, autonomous self-driving cars, gene splicing nanotechnology, and robotics.
About half-way through our meal, Lori announced that she was soon planning on retiring from her wholesale jewelry business to explore a new opportunities in an unrelated field.
For the past 25 years, Lori has been wildly successful in her designer jewelry business, working premier clients such as Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Ave. This pronouncement came as a complete surprise to me.
"So what"s the next gig for you Lori?" I asked hoping for some clarification.
She sat before me with a big smile on her face, "I"m not really sure...as we"ve been discussing all evening...there is so much change going on in the world...I just want to be a part of this revolutionary time...and my current business seems to be leading me away from where I want to be...".
I sat there thinking quietly to myself, "wow...to be able to give up the success she has worked hard to already achieve for the sake of following her heart to a new destination...doing something with meaning and purpose...this is truly a person who possesses unconventional courage".
Lori continued, "I think that civilization is in a time of Renaissance not unlike that of the 14th-17th centuries when art, science, exploration and innovation intersected to change the theocratic institutions that ruled the day. Today, the world is at a crossroads. I want to be a part of that discussion".
Bill added, "While there are those who would like to turn back the clocks to a time in the past...the stark reality is that progress never goes back...it only moves forward..."
I then suggested that perhaps the Millennials were actually on to something. Perhaps the mindset is changing to value experiences rather than acquiring more things.
"Exactly!", Lori chimed in, "jewelry is just about having more stuff...whatever I decide to do in the future...it won"t be about adding more unneeded things to this earth"
"I have several ideas but nothing really concrete"
"Well give me a few examples of what you"re considering", I asked
Lori stopped to gather her thoughts and then said, "The idea of belonging to a big corporation over the course of a lifetime is dead. The "gig" or project based economy is quickly replacing that antiquated system. As more and more people become entrepreneurial "free-agents", there will be a need to provide certain services that will cater to these specific needs. A good example is this concept is that of the shared "work space" providers such as WeWork or Co-munnity."
"A shared work space environment helps to bring people together to collaborate, innovate and share unique skills and talents while better utilizing space and resources"
"This is just one concept..."
"Not that I want to be an operator of office space...this is only an example of how the landscape is quickly changing," she added.
"My intention is to take a moment to stop and observe...observe what people are doing and try and figure out a way to help them do it better..."
Peter Diamandis, entrepreneur and co-founder of Singularity University, likes to say..."you want to make a billion dollars...then find a way to help a billion people solve a problem".
After a rousing dinner conversation that I would replay over and over in my head for another week while completing my 8-day ride to Los Angeles, I often wonder what problem Lori will eventually find to solve.
Having the courage to start a journey, like the one Lori is now embarking on, is admirable but it"s only the first step.
The bigger challenge is becoming disciplined to stop and observe...continually discovering new problems and creatively finding the keys to solving them...
Pushing the boundaries of the present to become a part of the future...
I am forever in awe of people like Lori...who forsake a comfortable existence to take on new challenges and adventures...not to necessarily enrich themselves monetarily...but rather to be a part of the new Renaissance.
Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we salute the efforts of pioneers and explorers who take us into uncharted territory.
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