At the Vistage International Chair and Member Conference I attended last week, nearly 1000 people with similar ideas lived together in a bubble for four days. Since the Gaylord Texan Resort is covered by a gigantic glass structure filled with fanciful canyons, waterfalls and dessert landscapes the illusion was complete. Most of us never went outside but felt as if we were moving about in a small city of shops, restaurants and meeting spaces. It was truly wonderful. We all wore name tags and greeted each other warmly when we met. Since we are all executive coaches we communicated easily. There was no dissension and little disagreement. We were there to hear our gurus (Simon Sinek, Daniel Pink, Stephen MR Covey, Ken Blanchard, Michael Milken and Itay Talgam). We traveled to Texas to learn more about our craft from the best in the business and that we did. Relationships formed there will endure and make us eager to return again.
I sat in the atrium early Saturday writing a few notes about my experience at the conference. Departing friends stopped to say farewell. Later I shared a van to the airport with several conference attendees extending the camaraderie to the terminal and, of course, there it stopped the illusion broken by busy people who were not with us in our protective bubble for the week. Some doubt arose as to whether my bag would make the plane change in Houston. Did I want to upgrade my ticket to an early boarding pass or take the risk of getting a center seat? Media intruded from screens in the waiting area displaying the still fractured and polarized positions common in our political arena. My busy life began again with preparations for the week to come.
Our challenge is to return home and to work despite the problems we still have. We are called to return to the center where our values reside, to not become bogged down in the argument, to allow the opposition to state their case and simply state our own, to win graciously and lose with dignity, to incorporate the best new ideas we can find into our practice and finally not be worn down by daily life. It was great to be in the bubble for a week. I grew a bit and rested a bit and came home incrementally wiser with some new friends. There is no better outcome.