My first experience was with reading teachers who are working to become trainers of other reading teachers. These dedicated educators worked in a most determined way for five days so they could assist other educators to become more effective teachers of reading. They volunteered to do this work because each one was on a personal mission to improve literacy across the country. They struggled through their own hurdles to learn and wanted to be the very best they could possibly be.
From that training, I went directly to a three day seminar for speakers. This included twelve people from incredibly diverse backgrounds, all with the common desire to share their personal stories with others. They wanted to do this in order to improve thousands of lives of people they have never met. We worked on many things that resulted in dramatic personal transformations that left each participant vulnerable in a way none of us expected. We did the work because we wanted to do good, and wanted to become great.
After I returned home I began to reflect on when I have done my very best work and have been the happiest. I realized that it was during times when I was surrounded by truly good people who want nothing more than to ease the burdens of others. It was when I was immersed in a culture of continual self improvement with others who shared my desire to grow and learn. Being in the company of goodness and greatness is what makes each of us the very best we can be.