One of my dreams as a consultant was to be a keynote speaker. My sister Dawn and I have dreamed of me getting paid to work in Dubai. Although this is but a dream, my brother Bryan just recently took his family and our mom to China as part of a speaking engagement (challenge accepted little bro).

Last year, Michele (my wife) traveled with me to Montreal Canada as we turned a workshop presentation into a mini-vacation. However, this isn’t always possible. With the allure of being a paid speaker, there’s the loneliness of traveling by myself to destinations. This isn’t exactly something I look forward to experiencing. But, for those of you who read this blog series, you know greatness is about pursuing the uncomfortable.

My “uncomfortably single” trip to Coeur d’Alene

After beginning the paid speaking circuit in early 2017, I’m now earning opportunities as a paid keynote speaker. My most recent assignment landed me in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for the Association of Idaho Cities 2018 Annual Conference. I know it’s a mouthful, but I wanted to make sure I gave a shout out to my host. Michele was unable to attend the conference with me because she was preparing to lead a conference for her employer in Cancun, Mexico.

I know you’re probably thinking that I got the short end of that stick. But actually, I’ve been to Cancun and I’ve never been to Coeur D’Alene (CDA). It was so tranquil that I truly enjoyed the change of pace from Milwaukee. However, my extroverted self would have loved to share the opportunity with someone. Hence, I was uncomfortably single. However, I found that this is where the opportunity lies.

After experiencing a few of life’s hiccups, I’ve learned to value the time alone. If it’s going to the movies, a restaurant, or a vacation, doing things alone is way better than sitting at home. It seems every time I do this, I end up experiencing something amazing. This trip was no different.

I landed in Spokane, WA and drove into CDA. On my way, I stopped into a breakfast joint for my favorite meal of the day. While eating at the self-seating diner stools, I met Mike (real name redacted), who was moving into the area from Seattle. Mike told me about his retirement from a career as a firefighter and his impending divorce. He had a great attitude towards his situation but was concerned about parenting his two young sons through the process. The best thing I could do was offer empathy and my own experience navigating this touchy situation. We ended our conversation with full bellies, a handshake, and a story to tell our children.

Had I had my druthers, I would much rather Michele been with me on this trip. However, I never would have had the opportunity to encourage Mike with the solace that this situation would work out in his favor. Again my uncomfortable singleness turned into an opportunity to connect with a friend. The best part is that I was only on day one of a three-day assignment. Look at all I would have missed if I allowed myself to be worried about being uncomfortable.

Today is the first day of the 4th quarter. Where do you need to get a little “uncomfortable” before the end of 2018?