June 23, 2009

{Enjoying the Silly Moments With Your Kids, and Don't Forget Running Shoes}

Next time I run through the airport to go to a presentation with my daughter I'll take an extra pair of shoes.

I am in DC working on a project with Raka and Joie, the pillars of the teen division of our consulting company.

Our journey started on Sunday morning at 6:30 AM. Once we got to the airport, the two near teenagers were racing each other on every escalator. There was so much energy in the air. But as I was going back and forth from being a dad watching my daughter and her friend to being a professional watching two direct reports it was tough to keep quiet. In flight we watched the movie "Confessions of a Shopaholic." It was funny to see the two teens next to me giggle like little children as they watched the movie. Finally when we landed in DC and the race continued (there were a few near hit and run casualties in the airport) I had to put a stop to this whole madness. "Come on girls…!" I did not know how to finish the sentence.

The first day in DC was uneventful. We walked to a local deli in Alexandria for lunch. After a short afternoon nap (I needed it), we went to our client's restaurant to see it for ourselves. Then we came back to Old Town and did a ghost tour. The tour was led by a sweet old lady with a lantern. She was a great story teller, but Raka and Joie had a different take. "She was so cute that we didn't get scared by her stories." Before we returned to the hotel, we stopped at a local ice cream store. Just before I was retiring to my room, I got a big final hug from Raka wishing me again "Happy Father's Day, Dad!"

Monday morning we started our journey to Rockville for a client presentation. Joie and Raka were practicing the presentation in the car. They probably rehearsed at least five times in the one hour drive. I did not understand why they were carrying an extra pair of shoes, but I didn't want to ask as I knew the mystery would unravel when the time was right.

Raka started the presentation. There was a nervous smile for the first few moments. Then she was on a roll. When Joie's part came she was equally brilliant. The team has come a long way. They did not look at notes, they were articulate, they were authentic, and more than anything, they connected with the client. Very soon the client was completely engaged the two teens. It was simply amazing to watch.

I asked myself "are these the same teens who were racing at the airport?" Then I realized I was asking the wrong question and to the wrong person. I should be asking myself "Why am I serious all the time? Should we not simply enjoy the moment when life gives us a chance, and then be serious when it is required?"

A simple lesson learned. So on Thursday, if any one of you is in the DC or Denver airport and see a middle aged man running with his laptop on his shoulder, please move aside as I am racing to set my personal best time on an escalator. That shouldn't be too tough when I do it for the first time.

Oh, I forgot all about the shoes. After the presentation, when we came back to the rental car, immediately Raka and Joie took their work shoes off and changed to their walking shoes. As we were walking to different stores and locations, I wished I were wearing my walking shoes too. I have to admit girls know their shoes.

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