For those of you have never been to the Americas Lodging Investment Summit, one of the highlights is the extravaganza that Jim Burba likes to present to get things kicked off. This year I was given the opportunity to be a part of that opening session. Actually, opportunity is not exactly the right word—encouraged, strong-armed and under-sold are more accurate, but nonetheless the entire process, before, during and after conference was educational, challenging and something I’ll always look back on very fondly.
For those of you that were fortunate enough to miss it, all I can tell you is that I was one of four individuals who were designated as “backup singers and dancers” for a song and dance to be performed by an American Idol finalist. As for the quality of my own performance, it can be summed up in a takeoff of the movie “White Men Can’t Jump,” re-titled “Data Guys Can’t Dance.” Enough said.
|Mark was one of four individuals who were designated as “backup singers and dancers” for a song and dance to be performed by an American Idol finalist at this year's ALIS.
There are several things that I learned during this process that I think are worth sharing.
First and foremost, be very careful in negotiating with Jim Burba. For many years I have tortured the poor man about getting more time on stage during the conference to present the Industry Overview. Well, I got that time, just not in the way I had envisioned. Like I said, be careful what you ask and wish for.
Another thing learned was a great appreciation for all the hard work and effort that go into a production like that. The preparation, focus and precision with which people who do this for a living are required to attain are just staggering. It took me over 10 hours of practice time to be that bad for the 15 or so seconds that I was required to actually do something.
More than making up for the time spent practicing was getting to spend that time with three great people, two I knew fairly well prior to this production and one I just met and now call a friend. As a result of this time, I’m happy to say that the four of us will always be linked in a way none of us ever anticipated.
Whenever I think back on this experience, I will first remember how I dreaded the whole thing. Dancing has always been something that I always felt totally uncomfortable doing, never thought I was any good at (turns out that part was correct) and generally avoided at all costs. In general, I was looking forward to the actual opening with about as much enthusiasm as I would, say, going to the dentist or spending the afternoon with an insurance salesman. But by the time we actually got close to going on stage I was genuinely having fun as the anxiety slowly but surely melted away.
In conclusion, my memory of this event will not contain thoughts of dread and humiliation, but of how straying out of my comfort zone and the box I often place myself in, was a truly rewarding experience. That feeling will be something I will try and retain as it certainly seems better to experience life than avoid it.
So to Jim Burba and the BHN gang here’s a big “Thank you” for asking/misleading me into participation. Because of this experience, I am more than I was before.