Jim was a University of Florida college student when he emailed me. "I speak at leadership conferences to high school students and I want to learn from you," he said.
I remember being a few years older than him and writing a letter (we didn't have email back then) to Les Brown telling him his tapes inspired me. I didn't hear back from Les (not sure if he ever received it) so when Jim emailed me I wanted to make sure he heard back from me.
I told Jim I had a new book that was being published called The Energy Bus and asked if he wanted to read the manuscript. He did and we talked afterwards. I told him I was going on a book tour to 28 cities to share the message and asked if he wanted to come to a few cities and speak before me for a few minutes to get some experience.
This was 2007. I was 36 years old, an unknown new author, going after my dream, living my mission and uncertain about the future. Jim was a college kid with a dream of becoming a professional speaker one day.
Jim joined me in the Midwest for a few stops, which was a good thing because I got food poisoning in Kansas and he literally had to drive the Energy Bus. He drove while I slept. We would arrive to an event filled with 5 to 20 people and somehow, someway I would find the energy to speak and then hit the road again.
Jim probably thought "what did I get myself into" but he didn't complain. He fearlessly spoke before me at each city and did a great job driving the bus during my sickness.
Jim is now the same age I was when we met so it’s fitting that he’s going on an Energy Bus for Schools tour to inspire and encourage school leaders and share principles and practices to build a great culture and energize teachers and students.
Life often comes full circle and seeing Jim embark on this tour not only makes me proud, it makes me see that God has a plan. All the synergistic events in our lives are not accidents but signs that point to the great creator and planner. It’s amazing what happens when you are willing and step out into the unknown with faith.
Like the time I shared the stage with Les Brown about five years after my Energy Bus book tour. It turns out he never saw my letter that I wrote him when I was 22. But God did and what a special moment it was.
Yes, life comes full circle and The Energy Bus going round and round makes life a more enjoyable and meaningful ride.