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The Power of an Invitation

Jayson is a person I don't know all that well and can probably count the hours I have spent with him on my fingers and toes. But his role in my story, though brief, had a profound effect on everything beyond it. I met Jayson through a random set of circumstances involving my friend Justin (who you will hear about later). If you know Justin, you will understand just HOW random those circumstances could possibly be.

Justin is originally from LA, but we met when he was living in Australia. And the one thing you need to know about Justin is that he knows EVERYONE and LOVES EVERYONE. Seriously it would be easier for me to play Seven degrees of separation from Justin than it would be to play seven degrees from Kevin Bacon!!

The story goes like this, Justin was back in Australia attending an event and happened to meet a girl called Christen, who was also at the event with her friend Jayson. Confused yet??? I am.

Anyway, Justin, Jayson, Christen, I decided that we would all hang out and do the touristy thing in Sydney.

Now one thing you need to know about me is I LOVE showing off my city to the world. Anytime I have friends in town I am the first one to offer to take them places and show them stuff. I even have the perfect 'Sydney in a day tour' for people who don't have a lot of time. I'm not going to explain it here... But if you ever go to Sydney let me know and I will take you on it!

The morning arrived, I dragged myself out of bed after coming home in the wee hours of the morning. I jumped on a bus to the city... Guess who didn't show up??? Justin. It turned out he had managed to make the exact same plans with several other groups of people but was hoping to catch up with us later in the day (The lead image of this blog is of the 1min Justin managed to get all the people he'd said he'd hang out with at the same place at the same time!). So here I am, sleep-deprived and playing hostess to some random people I barely know. Luckily it turned out to be an awesome day, and they were seriously cool people. The last stop of the day was dinner at my absolute favourite restaurant Meat & Wine Co. The first time I went there, I was with my Bible College class. 20 crazy youth leaders that usually never shut up!! But magically the room fell silent for 20min as we inhaled our food. But that's a story for another day...

Anyhow, the day Jayson, Christen and I were touring around Sydney was in the middle of winter. We'd just been to the beach so before we hit the restaurant we stopped by their hotel to change.

Once we had arrived, been seated and served one of the most delightful wines I'd tasted to date, we began to chat about all things life. Who we were, what we did, and how we had ended up meeting each other... By the time the food came, I felt like I'd been friends with them forever not less than a week

One of the things I learned about Jayson that night is that he worked for an organisation started by one of my all-time favourite leadership writers, John Maxwell. I also learned that he was involved in running a conference called Catalyst for young and emerging leaders. His brief story was followed by a very casual 'you should come to Catalyst!'. Now if I'd have realised the significance of that moment I probably would have given it more time than that... But it was no more than a few seconds, and we'd moved on to other topics. But the invitation stayed with me. Literally, it would pop up when I was walking to work or when I was making dinner and disappear just as quickly when the next thought came. One day when it came to mind, and I had my computer handy, I took two minutes to look up this event called Catalyst.

I was HOOKED. Seth Godin was speaking. Now, this is a guy that I can unashamedly say that I am a groupie of. I've read his books, watched his TedTalks multiple times and am generally a fan of what he is all about. Now I know what you are thinking... It wasn't the invitation that got me over the line. But truthfully, without the invitation, I would never have looked at the website, realised Seth Godin was speaking and worked out a way to BE THERE.

The conference was amazing and inspiring but more than that I met some incredible people there. And, what those friendships have led to since that day is truly remarkable. I will try and remember to link their stories in as I proceed through this book so that you can understand the impact of that little invitation.

It is only now that I reflect on that small invitation that I understand its significance. And right now, as I write, am resolving to 'invite' people and not just assume they know they are invited. Because in all honesty, if I was not invited I probably would never have gone and that would have been (for dramatic effect) a tragedy.

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