Norman, Oklahoma

This was my first trip to Norman, Oklahoma.  We pulled into downtown on that bus.  Five of us parking outside and heading into O’Connell’s Irish Pub.  You could feel the energy.  The anticipation.  The excitement.

U2 was preparing to take the stage in a few hours.  We were preparing to take in the whole experience properly.

We made our way over to Memorial Stadium for what we expected would be several hours of the greatest show on earth (ok…I am a fan). They delivered the experience to a sold out stadium.  As is customary there was a message around the music.  One part of that message really resonated.

Bono paused to make mention that 26 years prior, to the very day, the band first set foot in Norman, Oklahoma.  He thanked the audience for the “upgrade to the big venue, a few blocks down the street.”  A casual reference to the journey of becoming remarkable.  The transition from bar band to one that is an easy stadium sell out.  A journey that started small.  Like they all do.  Just a dream.

As we made our way back to O’Connell’s after the show I couldn’t help but comment on that comment.  It prompted a brief discussion.  What if the band listened to the resistance?  Caved to the concern of parents who perhaps didn’t support children chasing some outlandish dream of being in a band?  What if they were afraid to try?  Didn’t take the risk?  Didn’t stay the course?  Passed on the long, hard effort?  Stopped making art?

Our conversation closed with, “dude, would Coldplay even exist?”  That was enough.

It was also enough to make me realize that even an outcome that seems destined starts somewhere.  The sacrifice, commitment, challenge, choices and chance you have to be willing to endure is simply the price of admission to achieving Rock Star status in whatever it is you really want to do.

I have wonderful memories from that trip to Norman and look forward to returning this week for what is shaping up to be an all star event with great content and progressive, social contributions that will further elevate the experience.   I look forward to seeing friends like Bryan and Jessica, making new, meaningful connections and contributing my closing keynote to the conference.  Follow us at #OKHR.

I’ll also be stopping by O’Connell’s Irish Pub for a Guinness.

If you get a chance this summer that experience is worth the price of admission.

Animated gif of Ryan speaking on stage Screenshot of e-newsletter

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