I walked into the install bay. The door was open, letting in the morning sunlight, and I just wasn’t ready. This was supposed to have been a series of courses that we could graduate from but we knew it wouldn’t be. A few who weren’t self-driven, who had their own opinion about attendance and their requirements for the future – they didn’t show up. It was whatever John wanted to say before he was gone and I knew it.
No pressure or anything. I had only been looking forward to it all week, one of the roughest weeks of my career. I simply had to pull resources from a magical place on my one day off so I wouldn’t crash. He only had to make it worth it. What exactly would he say, when everyone took a seat around him, when he was taking off and the question on everyone’s mind was: what now?
There weren’t really any pens or pencils. No surface for tablets or laptops. Binders fell to the floor. And as much as my mind recorded, there is nothing that I can write that would recreate what happened in that little garage. Oh, sure, there were purposeful exercises to get us arguing, then agreeing, then realizing how our different stances were the same and why we were all holding our own positions – there were role plays on nonverbal cues and emphasis on tone and language that took one sentence through every intention and meaning. We stayed busy.
The takeaways were in the willingness to listen. The way the natural light lit the bay and washed our casual business attire. The way the laughter echoed when someone was forced into spontaneity and the value you felt in simply sitting together as a single unit. I kept looking down, like it was easier to contemplate the material and easier on the facilitator delivering the messages if you didn’t stare too long.
Feedback was the hardest thing to give. I took absolute refuge in everyone else’s eyes when it was my turn. And it seemed to work because everyone was looking at me, anyway. I could have spoken to the rest of the world with ease but I never could…look back at him during that moment.
I said that everyone could benefit from that final course. Leadership, management, peers, salespeople, short or long term. Big dreams or beer money. In a much vaguer and stumbling fashion I recommended the experience for everyone.
I thought, but held back and constantly reworked, that it was a shame how everyone would not get that opportunity. People who needed a crash course in communication and perspective would not receive one. That it was too fucking bad that it was all over.
When it was time for him to finally walk out, I would be there zooming in via CCTV. Staring too close, for too long. Asset protection is like that, sometimes.
I hate losing shit from that fucking place.