I finally have time to reflect on this week's experience and write about the wonderful time that I had at LaunchMe in Clearwater, Florida.
So, a few months ago Brad Waid encouraged me to come to the LaunchMe Academy that he was hosting in Florida. I said "sure" but honestly, was a little unsure and insecure about going. I thought I would feel out of place, uncomfortable, and just weird around so many people that I had never met.
However, the experience was the complete opposite. I flew in on Wednesday evening and hardly slept because I was so excited and nervous about what was to come. Thursday morning I arrived at Plato Academy ready to learn. I instantly realized that I was in for an amazing experience when I met Brad Waid, Katrina Keene, and Bryan Miller at the front desk. They were so welcoming and helped me realize I was right where I belonged.
As the day went on and I sat in the room with so many amazing educators, I listened to their stories and their experiences. It was evident right away that I was in for more than I could have ever imagined. I loved hearing them share their passion for education, innovative teaching, and risk taking. I loved having conversations about changing the world and following our dreams. More than anything, I loved being around real people that were like me. People that know they are on a specific path, just not sure where it's going to lead. People that want to share their passion with others and feel like they can make a difference. I was right at home and was so pleased to be included in such an amazing group of people.
Every person in the group contributed in their own special way. Brad shared so openly about what he does and gave us the inspiration to go after our dreams. Kevin couldn't be there but was so gracious to share videos from the airport answering our questions and offering wonderful advice. Katrina asked honest questions and kept us laughing with her Twitter antics and fun personality. Bryan was so inspiring as he shared his goals and challenged us to think bigger. Mona kept me laughing and helped me realize that we all have purpose and worth. Fran was so sweet and introduced us to the BEST Italian food I have ever had by taking us to Villa Maria for lunch. Jen made me feel so comfortable by introducing herself right away. It was so fun meeting Troy and hearing him share about his podcast. Nik kept us laughing and his excitement for innovative education was so inspiring and contagious. Adam inspired me to try something new by sharing how previews ruin movies...LOL. I will definitely think before I watch a movie preview next time! There were so many other wonderful people that played a role and made LaunchMe such a terrific experience.
On the flight home, I reflected on what I had learned, who I had met, and how my life was changed. It was so much fun being around like-minded people that were passionate and believed that we could make a difference. I thought about the words that Brad shared and the challenges that he gave each of us. In reflecting on all of these things, I came to the conclusion that life is what we make it. We can't achieve what we don't go after and being ourselves is enough.
I am so thankful for this experience and would not trade it for anything. It was two days of being inspired, being challenged, and making connections. I learned so much from every single person in that room and will forever be grateful for the role each of them played in helping me find my inspiration. I am grateful for the friendships that were made and look forward to crossing paths again in the near future!