In the mid 90’s, I worked for a company that focused on providing a service to law firms.
It was a great job, where I learned a lot about sales, service, and building relationships.
I’ve written previously about my experiences at that company, but a post that I wrote a few years ago, called “My First Game Changing Deal” – was a result of that job. That post can be found here.
I was lucky. Extremely lucky.
Each year, the top salespeople were awarded a “President’s Club” Trip. It was a prestigious award for the top 10% of sellers at the company, and each year the company would put together an all expenses paid for “boondoggle” to places like, The Bahamas, Arizona, Palm Springs, or Nashville TN.
It was to celebrate and award top performers across the company, with little to no work being done on these trips – it was mostly, golf, drinking, and some nightly entertainment.
The evening entertainment varied from comedian to mentalist, and on the Nashville trip – something special occurred.
I’ve long been a music buff. I really enjoy diverse types of music, and music has been a critical ingredient in my daily life.
In Nashville, I really enjoyed walking downtown, and stepping into the clubs and seeing live music. I had never been to Nashville before, and being on the street with all (what they call) “Honky Tonks” was really tremendous to witness.
It was golf during the day, then a dinner at night – followed by entertainment, then late nights at a bar.
However, this night was different.
Once the dinner ended, the curtain came up – and a band took the stage.
The guys looked a bit old, and they were clearly an influential band (you could tell by their demeanor and swagger as they approached their instruments), who's ages were in their late 50’s/early 60’s.......they were playing a, "corporate gig."
The music started.
I loved it.
But, as I rose out of my seat – and gravitated TOWARDS THE BAND – I noticed most of my peers doing, the exact opposite.
As the music started – all the employees and my co-workers, were moving to the back of the room, and away from the stage.
The huge ballroom had at most 200 people from the company, and the composition of the 200 – over 100 were executives, (VP’s and Leaders of various business units) and then, there were additionally 100 sales people like me.
200 in total in the room.
It was 199 people in the back of the room, talking.
I was alone in front of the band – on the makeshift dance floor, standing directly in front of them.
They opened up with THIS SONG.
Then, the played this.
I was in AWE.
I stood in front of, "The Guess Who" -- a group of absolute legends, dancing -- twirling and showing a proper amount of energy, excitement, and respect -- for a group of men who were putting on a "corporate gig" - far below their normal attendance, venue, or expectations....
I was in heaven. It was incredible to hear what would turn out to be "An Evening of Greatest Hits with, The Guess Who."
My dancing, and their jamming --- their sweet voices, and quality of their sound, was overwhelming to my sense, and I was truly in a trance. A dancing trance.....
My fellow employees all stood in the back of the room. Some were goofing on the band, and their appearance(s), the way they looked, while others stood stoically -- some laughing, and jeering at me.
For a moment I was uncomfortable, standing alone at company conference, with a beer in my hand, dancing by myself -- while every single attendee was in the back of the room --- some not paying attention and involved in conversation, while others joked at what they saw in front of them.
Me. Alone. And, some 60 year old men playing classic rock.
A solid 45 minutes went by, with the band playing hit after hit.
There I was, front and center -- twirling, eyes closed, dancing to the music, and then......
A burst of a guitar -- and the song, "American Woman" (one of their hits) begins.
And one by one -- like Penguins jumping into the water, or a mass migration of animals running with the herd, I was suddenly surrounded by 200 of my peers dancing, and enjoying themselves.
I was no longer alone, I was sharing the dance floor with 200 fast followers, who were President Club winners in business.....
And, I realized I did not belong on the dance floor any longer. Nor did I belong at this company.
It was my turn to go to the back of the room -- and, stand at the bar, order a beer and stare at my fellow attendees, while they enjoyed the awesome music that I had just danced to.....alone.
The band finished.
The room applauded mightily.
The evening was coming to a close.
I got a tap on the shoulder........
"Hey man, are YOU CANADIAN?"
It was the lead singer, of "THE GUESS WHO."
He came to the back of the room to find me....
"Man, you can dance -- and we really appreciate it. Hey, after breakdown and load out, a few of the guys in the band and crew are going downtown to see a cool live performer, and we want to know if you want to join us."
I replied -- without missing a beat, "Hell yes."
(a seperate post is coming on the rest of the night, and my interactions with The Guess Who...)
Suffice to say, it was quite an experience.
It all happened because I chose to, dance alone.
Sometimes, dancing alone pays dividends. Sometimes dancing with a partner is the way to go....
I will never forget my night with The Guess Who.
Much like a company, they have evolved. They have evolved in people, in style, and over time.
Close your eyes and twirl. You might open them to find yourself in a small bar, standing next to a group of Canadians, watching another Canadian young star, named Shania Twain, sing her heart out.
And, you might leave the other 199 President Cup Winners back at the Opryland Hotel.