Why I Flew 1,624 Miles and Paid $1,706.70 For Breakfast

And Why You Should Do the Same

Last week I flew 1,624 Miles and paid $1,706.70 to have breakfast with Mike Kim and Brian Dixon. The breakfast included a small band of remarkable companions. Why would I do such a thing? Sometimes we have the opportunity to make wise investments in other people.

The-Epic-Breakfast-Club

Often these investments are inconvenient. But this particular kind of investment can often bring the biggest payoff.  And not in the most obvious ways. I’ll explain the non-obvious benefits in a moment, but first, a quick story…

An Inconvenient Trip

Back in 2012 I received a phone call from one of my dearest friends, Stu McLaren. He called to invite me to a Mastermind Meeting in Manhattan, at the headquarters of Inc. Magazine. The Mastermind was a gathering of some of the top entrepreneurs who own membership sites. These are websites that charge a subscription fee. Each person attending shared their best ideas and practices about running a membership business. I wrote about the experience and the all-star lineup in this post.

But even though this was a cool invitation, I was reluctant to say yes. The first reason for my reluctance was unknown to Stu, or anyone else, at the time. Only months before, I was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s Disease. My confidence was (pardon the pun) shaky. Plus, the invitation came at the last minute. The flight to New York, the hotel, and all the other expenses of the trip were not in the budget.

I was honored that Stu invited me. And this was more than “just a Mastermind”. This event was raising money for World Teacher Aid, the charity Stu and his wife Amy run. But the invitation was all kinds of inconvenient. That’s why I knew I had to accept. Opportunity is usually wrapped in the cloak of inconvenience. That’s why so many fail to recognize it.

And I’m so glad I went, despite the inconvenience. I helped support Stu and Amy and their charity. I brought value to the other members of the group. I also made incredible connections and walked away with a ton of ideas and inspiration. It was at that event I met Michael Hyatt for the first time, and we became fast friends.

Opportunity, often being wrapped in a cloak of inconvenience, goes unrecognized.Click To Tweet

An Inconvenient Trip, the Sequel

Fast forward about 4 years, and something familiar happened.

During a  recent meeting of the Regency Mastermind, Mike Kim told us about his upcoming trip. He was planning to attend Dan Miller’s Coaching With Excellence event in Franklin TN. Because he was going to be in Franklin anyway, Mike wanted to make the most of the trip. He and Brian decided to put together a meeting of the top marketing minds in the Nashville area. (You may not know this, but the Nashville area has the unofficial headquarters of the blogosphere.)

Mike planned to hold a “Boardroom Dinner” with these folks. The “Boardroom Dinner” is a concept I learned from my friend Brian Kurtz. I have been doing these dinners with my Regency group during our quarterly get-togethers.

Now Mike is a smart guy, and realized that he was dealing with people in their own hometown. It might be difficult to pull them away from their families and friends in the evening. So he and Brian decided to host a breakfast instead, and they dubbed it the Epic Breakfast Club. (The only thing missing was Ally Sheedy.)

In Each Joke There Is a Kernel of Truth

“Maybe I should fly out there for breakfast and support you,” I said to Mike.

We both laughed. We both agreed that would be awesome.

And we both knew I was joking. I had a myriad of other obligations that prevented me from attending.

Inside every joke is a kernel of truth.Click To Tweet

But something about the thought wouldn’t leave me alone. I learned long ago that inside every joke is a kernel of truth.

It nagged at the back of my mind for a couple of weeks. Mike and Brian didn’t need my support, but they surely would appreciate it. And I admit it, the idea of a dramatic “Thousand Dollar Breakfast” story seemed like it would be fun to tell. At the least, it would yield a blog post (which you are reading right now.)

Trouble was, I already had a trip planned for that week (which by this time in the story was less than one week away.) Yet the more I thought about it, the heavier the idea weighed on me.

Ray, you need to change your plans even if it is inconvenient, I thought. Perhaps especially because it is inconvenient. Remember Manhattan.

I don’t know why, but often I don’t hear God telling me something important. Usually because I’m busy explaining to Him why it’s a bad idea.

Often, we don't hear God saying something important. We’re busy explaining why it’s a bad idea.Click To Tweet

But that’s okay, because when He wants me to hear something I’m trying to ignore, He just turns up the volume.

For instance, my friend Cliff Ravenscraft told me he was attending  Coaching With Excellence. 

Did I realize I was getting another “nudge” from the Head Office? Nope. I just thought, “What an odd coincidence.”

This should have been a clue in itself because I don’t believe in coincidence.

So the volume got cranked up another notch.

I got an email from Michael Hyatt, saying “Are you coming to Nashville next week? If so, I’d love to get together with you if you have the time.”

I eventually can, and often do, finally recognize when God is trying to tell me something.

I needed to be in Nashville.

This was another incidence where I would need to wipe my calendar, and make another inconvenient trip. I would be there to support Mike Kim and Brian Dixon, and in the bargain I would get to see a lot of friends. I did both.

Nothing tops the connection power of a handshake or a hug - and you can’t get those online.Click To Tweet

The 3 Positive Payoffs Of Inconvenient Investments in Others

Remember, my first motivation was to show up for Mike and Brian. I think God used all the other benefits just to break me out of inertia and get me moving in the right direction. I think we all should make these wise, but inconvenient, investments in other people. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do, of course. And also because of at least 3 positive payoffs.

  1. The inconvenience multiplies the return. It’s a truth we all recognize. The more we pay for something – in time, effort, inconvenience, and money – the more we value it. This is not just a psychological trick we play on ourselves, either. Because we value our investment more, we tend to look for ways to maximize the return we receive. On this trip, that included meeting up with Aaron Walker, John Meese, Jevonnah Ellison, Jeff Brown, Jeff Sanders, David Molnar, Grant Baldwin, Kelly Garrett Hancock,  Kary Oberbrunner, Andy Traub, Ken Davis, Jessica Turner, David Hooper and Jody Maberry. It meant an unexpected invitation to speak at Dan Miller’s Coaching With Excellence event. It meant an opportunity to put advance copies of my new book, How to Write Copy That Sells, into the hands of 75 people.
  2. There is power in proximity. Today we have communications technology that was the stuff of science fiction only a few decades ago. Because of this, sometimes we forget the value in physical presence. It doesn’t matter how good your webcam is. It doesn’t matter how fast your internet. No remote communications app has the same impact as your physical presence. Nothing will ever replace the connection power of a handshake or a hug – and you can’t get those online. Your ability to influence, and to be influenced, increases with your physical presence.
  3. We value those who value us. Once upon a time, I was debating whether to attend a wedding. I wasn’t in the wedding. I wasn’t family. They wouldn’t even notice I was there. My wife, Lynn, piped in with her usual casual wisdom: “They may not remember who was there, but they will certainly remember who was not.” I went to the wedding. The principal at work here is: we value those who value us. Sometimes the most powerful way to prove you value them is the act of showing up.

At this point you may be wondering: did I go to Nashville to support Mike and Brian? Or did I go because I saw an opportunity for myself? The easy answer would be, “both.” But that’s not entirely true. I went so that I could support my two friends. To show up for them. The opportunities – the payoffs – only began to appear after I made that decision. Heed this well: if you do these things only because of the opportunities, people will sniff you out. They will know your “good deeds” are mercenary manipulations. That has no lasting value and actually hurts you in the long run.

Your ability to influence, and to be influenced, increases with physical presence.Click To Tweet

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect positive payoffs. It does mean that you should check your motives, and at least be clear who you are investing in first – you, or them? The fact that in one sense the answer is “both” doesn’t change the truth that the order makes a difference. If you want to discover your true motivation, ask yourself this question. “Would I make this inconvenient investment in the other person, even if I knew there was no direct payoff in it for me?”

In the case of my Tennessee trip last week, answer was “yes, I would.” And yes, flying 1,624 miles and paying $1,706.70 just to be at the breakfast did end up paying off for me in a big way. But probably not the way you think. After I got home, I received this message from Mike Kim:

Thanks again for EVERYTHING last week. I will never forget your kindness, support, and geneosity.

That “payoff” was worth the whole trip. And no, it’s not practical for me to do this for everyone, or even often. As Andy Stanley says, “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone”

Oh.

One last thing.

I didn’t actually pay for breakfast: Mike and Brian did.

Question: What has your experience been with making inconvenient investments in other people?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

23 thoughts on “Why I Flew 1,624 Miles and Paid $1,706.70 For Breakfast

  1. Love this insight and your perspective, Ray. And I’m so glad you came! The Epic Breakfast Club was an incredible experience, and I’m glad you and I both got to reconnect there.

  2. I so need to consider this more often. Living in the Nashville area as I do has made experiencing these moments convenient most of the time. I need to be willing to be inconvenienced more often. Thanks Ray

    PS And it was great to finally meet you in person!

  3. You are one of the few I’ve met that truly understand the value in sowing big seeds into others. Because of that, I know that you know that I know what it meant to have you come. Thank you so much.

    You will always have a welcome seat at any table I manage to put together … except the surgery table. I wouldn’t invite you to that. That would be a bit overboard.

  4. I was in Nashville quite a bit this summer/fall. Love it.

    I street perform down on Broadway and didn’t really look into the entrepreneurial culture there as I didn’t expect to stay as long as I did (just really loved it!).

    I was there 8 weeks all totaled.

    I won’t make the same mistake next time:)

  5. Great article Ray! Though it was inconvenient for you, the pleasure was all mine to be able to finally meet your celebrity self, in-person.

    And yes, Nashville is the best city in the world, so I think it will save you a bunch of money in the future if you just move here.

    Take one for the team Ray. 🙂

  6. It is wonderful that when given two options, you chose the one with the better story. Even better is that you wrote about it. It was great to spend some time with you and a delight to sit next to you at the Epic Breakfast.

  7. Thanks for pouring into Mike. You both have blessed my life tremendously. Although I didn’t fly, I drove 12 hours. And it was worth every minute. I echo your spiritual intuition. When God gives the hints, we must act in obedience…or miss out on a blessing.

  8. So that Is why I missed you in Nashville! I missed my flight and got there late. Thank you for trying to hook up with me! Sorry I missed you my friend! Great post and so true!

  9. Thanks for the testimony, Ray. As I reflect on my life, I have a hard time recalling inconvenient investments in others. I’m sure there are many times when I chose to do something for the benefit of another without much thought about inconvenience. But, that isn’t the same as what you are talking about. So much of my life has been limited by finances. I’m just now beginning to realize that my finances may have been limited because of a lack of practical faith. I’ve been afraid of the risk and of the loss. I’ve held back from taking a step that might have liberated me to do so much more for others with the added resources. I’ve spent the time and given the hugs, and I’ve traveled a couple of hours or even eight to do a funeral or a wedding. I’ve done those most often because I felt it was the right thing to do, not because of the desire to do it. Meeting the needs of others have been driven by a sense of the importance of treating others better than myself. It’s biblical, but not complete. Thank you for the example you have set for something more.

  10. What a “coincidence”. Last night I trudged up the stairs to spend a few hours on a crippled and downed website. My wife asked why I was doing this, since I was just supposed to be the copywriter and marketing advisor. The conversation stopped when I said, “I promised them I’d do everything to help them be successful.”
    Thanks for sharing about those nudges Ray. I’ll try to be more sensitive to them.