On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, I received an award for Business Leadership Excellence and delivered the keynote address in two sessions of the World Leadership Congress held at the beautiful new Taj Palace Hotel in Dubai, Arab Emirates.
For me it was an elevated life experience for two reasons: first, for the warm reception and high recognition; second, for the interactions with participants and reciprocal influence.
Following my 30-minute speech on Tuesday morning, I received strong applause from the audience. Just as meaningful to me was the recognition of her excellency, Dr. Shaikha Al Maskari, Chairperson of Al Maskari Holding. When I returned to the head table, this remarkable women (80 years old) stood and applauded me, shook my hand, and thanked me profusely.
I also enjoyed handing awards to many of the recipients and having my picture taken with each of them, along with group photos. This gave me the chance to have a brief personal exchange with most of the 450 people in attendance—all high achievers in their respective fields.
About 100 individuals spoke to me one on one and expressed that it was their honor and privilege to meet me, have a photograph taken with me, and be influenced by my ideas. They also asked me to keep in touch with them.
Why I Went
I share this not to boast but to contrast the experience with my pre-event expectations. When I first received notice of this award recognition and the invitation to travel to Dubai (mostly at my expense) and deliver a keynote acceptance speech, I was highly skeptical; in fact, I dismissed it as a gimmick, as did my family. My son, Andy, even said, “They probably make money off you by getting a kick-back on travel and hotel credit card charges.”
Since losing much of my business due to internal employee fraud and embezzlement (affinity fraud) in 2008, and then selling what remained of my magazine publishing to HR.Com two years ago, I have been fighting a deep and pervasive “funk,” thinking 30 years of work and sacrifice was futile, notwithstanding the blessing of a local religious leader who had promised me that my work would yet by recognized globally and would bless millions more people.
Ultimately I went for three reasons, all spiritual: first, when I went on line in July to check out travel options and costs, I was surprised to find a very affordable (nonrefundable) rate and received a strong prompting to book it, which I did. Had I not followed this initial prompting, I never would have gone. After booking the flight and hotel, I then had doubts, concerns and criticism over my decision to go—and these continued right up to last Friday, the day before my scheduled departure. I was then willing to lose my invested money and stay home; but in meditation and prayer that day, I received a second strong prompting to trust and go. Third, I sensed that by exercising faith I would receive a full measure of the Spirit to sustain my body, lighten my care, brighten by countenance, quicken my mind, soften my heart, and direct my words and actions.
I can attest that my faith bore fruit —I was supported by the Spirit in abundance, to the point of seeing and loving people as God sees and loves them and knowing what to do and say.
I confess: It is somewhat scary to see yourself at your best, and to be recognized by other accomplished people for your life’s work. After feeling so depreciated and devalued, it is frightening to feel loved, revered, adulated and royal. I say it is scary and frightening because you then wonder if you must change to become the person that these new friends see you to be. It is shocking to suppose that you may be that person because the evidence reveals that at least for a couple of days in Dubai—you already are that person. Finally, it is awesome to realize that notwithstanding the immense resistance to being that “royal” person in real life back home (where no man is a prophet), you have a fresh chance to up your game.
My reflection also made me realize that so many people cry for such an experience as the one I just had in Dubai. They pine to be loved, recognized, valued, affirmed, sustained, and applauded. And yet many good people, even those who are very deserving of being revered, will never have that royal experience in mortality.
The Spirit then comforted me: Every good work, noble thought, moral discipline, true love, generous offering, and sacrificial atonement will eventually be recognized and rewarded, resulting often in a complete reversal of fortunes whereby the first shall be last, the last shall be first and the least of all shall be the greatest of all.
My New Commission
My new commission, received by the Spirit on the 16-hour return flight from Dubai through the dark of night to a glorious new dawn in Washington DC, is to be an enlightened agent serving on behalf of deserving humanity seeking a better life and brighter future.