“I am a nobody that believes I am a somebody.” – Marcie White
I don’t hold a C-Level title…I don’t have a big team….I’m not a well-known public figure…nor do I make “life changing” money which might wield a lot of power or influence (although I am grateful for what I do earn and all that I have). Having said that…I have adopted the philosophy over the past several years…that no matter who you are…YOU can make a difference!
I also believe that…
…we know more people
…have more talent
…have more capability
then we give ourselves credit for.
Too often we give up before we even begin because things seem risky or hard when we should be thinking…”how CAN I make that happen”…even if it means stepping outside of our comfort zone or even failing.
So here is a story about a time when…a nobody…believed she was a somebody…and it made a difference….
The plane had just reached altitude and the announcement came on that we could now connect to the Wi-Fi. It was Sunday, September 10th, 2017 and I was travelling to Chicago to go to the HP WW Partner Forum (#HPReInvent17). I wasn’t going to connect on-line this trip…maybe just read a book instead… but I thought given that so many of us were travelling that I should.
I no sooner had I connected to GOGO Inflight when a text popped up from my dear friend Sarah. Sarah and I have known each other for…gulp…20+ years…and we started out together at a small Long Term Healthcare company in Canada called Shannex Healthcare Management. Since that time….Sarah worked hard and risen through the ranks of Emera (a Power Company based in Nova Scotia Canada) to become President, TECO Services in Tampa, Florida. She is an inspiration to all who know her and I aspire to be just like her!
The importance of her text was that Hurricane Irma was bearing down on the Tampa Bay area where many had been evacuated and under a state of emergency. Her role at TECO was considered essential services with crews at the ready to record outages and to restore power to their customers in the long days ahead.
Here is how the conversation began…
So…the email I sent was to the HP President of the AMS and his Chief of Staff. I do have them in my network and I meet with them quarterly for a business review. Having said that…it was still a bit of a stretch to reach out to them on a Sunday afternoon right before their big event given my position in the organization. With the eye of Hurricane Irma about to hit, I knew that we only had one shot at finding someone high level at Google and they immediately jumped to mind as the solution. I have to also say, that hitting send on the email took more courage that I would like to admit, but when I thought of what Sarah, her team and the numerous people that relied on power from TECO were going through…I knew it was worth a try.
So…here is how the rest of the conversation went…
It is a bit crazy to me that it just so happened that my HP contacts had met with the President of Google Cloud Services the week before, who happened to answer the call on a Sunday afternoon. He and his team jumped on it right away and had TECO up and running within a couple of hours! The outage map was mission critical and under normal circumstances they would not be recording so many incidents at once. With the fix….the numerous households and families who relied on information during a disaster would now know that the outage was recorded….how many others were affected…and the estimated time to resolve. Not bad work for a 3.5 hour plane ride from Phoenix to Chicago on a sleepy Sunday afternoon.
Here are a few things that I took away from this experience:
o Meg Whitman always says “Run towards the fire”
o Our HPFS CEO Irv Rothman wrote a book called “Gutsball” and it forms the cornerstone of our culture.
“Gutsball is….The ability to overcome apprehension or anxiety to rise to the occasion. Feeling free to take action while acknowledging potential consequences, but not fearing them” – Irv Rothman
So…To Sum it ALL Up….
People can do extraordinary things in extraordinary moments. While I am a nobody who believes that I am a somebody….I want YOU to believe that you can be a somebody too!
“If it’s important you’ll find a way. If it’s not, you’ll find an excuse.” – Ryan Blair
Leadership Questions of the Week for YOU:
Thanks for reading and remember…..YOU make a difference!
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