Imagine: Sleeping with your windows open at night in San Francisco. You’re not cold. You’re still sweating. An unseasonable heat grips the city. Five other boots toss fitfully in their beds in the same two bedroom apartment.
Inhale, exhale. Rollover, dream. Tomorrow, it’s go-time.
717 California Street, here we come.
The six of us walk single file up Third and across Market onto Kearney. The final two-hundred yards to headquarters it’s straight up hill. This is called foreshadowing.
If you’re thinking mock-turtle necks and polo shirts with popped collars, you need to check yourself. This isn’t college, and we’re not undergrads. We’re 50+ geeks with laptop bags, bikes, and two-day old beards. We’re from both coasts and many countries. We’re job quitters, difference makers, and soon to be Version 2.0 of our former selves.
Cue the techno.
Yes, I said techno.
And it’s loud. The locked door we’ve been milling around opens promptly at 9:00, just like Shereef said it would. I’m the first one through. Adrenaline drops into my gut like a corner pocketed eight ball off the break. My ears ring with a chorus of high fives and hell-yeahs. I feel like I’m walking the corridor into a stadium–like I should be doing high-knees through the gauntlet on game day.
And then our fearless leader gets down to business and talks about our “contract.” Finally, reality sets in…not! It only gets better:
- “Be here 100%”
- “Have integrity”
- “Love and kindness”
You might be tempted to call this stereotypical San Fran-silly crystal-gazer bullshit. But then you wouldn’t be a boot.
These aren’t just platitudes. These are deeply held beliefs. Put forth by people who care. Twenty-somethings who turned their backs on corporate bureaucracy; thirty-somethings who did a gut-check and cashed their last check just to be here.
I have to make the most of this opportunity. We all do. So how?
There’s an app for that: “Do. Share. Reflect.”
- Do the work and do your best.
- Share what you’ve learned so that you really learn it.
- Reflect on what you can do better tomorrow.
And most importantly: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Eventually this journey will make me weary, but I know I’m not the only one who will have trouble sleeping tonight.