Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Celebrating Milestones: Remembering the Magic

I heard a great public speaker last year at an event my financial advisor hosted. Paul Batz is an author, speaker, and executive coach, who also has a blog, which you can follow here.

In a post last week, entitled What Would 150 Years Look Like To You?, Paul makes the first inaccurate statement I've heard from him: he says that Happy Birthday to You is the most contagious tune in the Western world. Every Disney fan will affirm there is one song written by the Sherman Brothers that's a bigger earworm than what we sing before we get cake. I won't mention it, or we all will be singing it the rest of the day.  Too late.

Forgive me, Paul, for poking a little fun at you. Paul does ask a great question, as he does with every post, about what significant milestones are we celebrating. At first nothing major came to mind. You know, something that ends in zero or is a big deal. It wasn't until a few days later when I was reading Paul's next blog entry that the pieces came together for me.

On July 17, 2013, Disneyland turned 58. In the grand scheme of things, it's not that old, but later this year on October 16th, the Walt Disney Company turns 90; on November 18th, Mickey and Minnie are turning 85; and on December 5th, Uncle Walt would have celebrated his 112th birthday. Now we're getting somewhere.

So why all the fuss? On Disneyland's birthday, and thanks to social media, for some reason a great group of former Cast Members and friends became very nostalgic this year for some odd reason. We posted pictures of us back in the days when we worked at Disneyland, reminisced about funny stories and dear friends who have since departed us. 

What we discovered is that we didn't fully comprehend the memories we were making for not only Guests, but also for each other. The bonds of friendship have withstood the test of time and spanned years. We didn't fully appreciate what we had back then, but we all are looking back with gratitude and smiles in our hearts.

Working at Disneyland not only made great friendships, but for so many of us, it laid the foundation for our professional careers. The skills we learned at a theme park taught us how to be good and effective leaders. Even with strict rules, we learned how to think outside of the box. It empowered us.

Sure, turning 58 is an accomplishment, but it wasn't a milestone birthday. But one other thing we learned last week was you don't need a milestone birthday to celebrate. Do it while you can and cherish those memories.

I end with a rare treat. A blast to the past. I really should save this for Throwback Thursday, but it's already making its way around the Internet. A friend posted this of me, circa lat 1980's after Star Tours opens at Disneyland. May the Force Be With You!

No comments: