I read with great fervor the post from CrotchRocket about the success of the Spring LEAP season. There is nothing quite like the thrill of seeing more and more men #FreedToLead. And then I thought about my own LEAP experiences, from the very first time I went to another area to launch all the way through the development of a great friendship with BarneyFife down in Birmingham. I felt it worth recounting that journey, not to reveal the reason CR calls me “Golden Boy” (a moniker I am not entirely comfortable with), but so that the rest of the pax could get just a glimpse of why this endeavor is so important.
Back in May 2015, a group of 30+ men made their way to Greenwood, SC to launch F3 in my awesome little town. They did so freely because they had been given this gift freely. My most memorable experience early on was when McLovin, CornStache and Catheter came all the way to Greenwood and gave us our first QSchool. It was a powerful experience for me and I understood then that I was obligated to do whatever I could to spread the word.
It took me several iterations of service (which have surely frustrated the &^*!$@%!^ out of OBT and AP) that started with helping drive the local effort to LinkedIn (#Fail) to podcasts (#EvenBiggerFail) to my first dabblings in this LEAP thing.
I went with a large group of pax to Augusta, Georgia in Fall 2015 to get that place rolling. It was much to my dismay that it never really took in Augusta. I saw some things then that I thought my end up being an issue with the fledgling region and called up Sway to share them. I remember reading Sway’s message about having Augusta removed from the schedule. I told myself then that I would do everything in my power to never let that happen again.
We had a local pax relocate to Indiana and I reached out to CR about getting things going there, but, coincidentally (if you believe in such, as Dredd would say), it never materialized. Then I saw that the Bay Area was launching and I volunteered my services since I grew up out there. The team was already established and so I threw my name in the ring for future endeavors. When Seattle got ready to launch there were too many volunteers, so I respectfully bowed out since I had no connection there and others did.
Then I got an email from Chaser with a list of five cities that were ready to go. Would I be willing? Absolutely. A few days later, Chaser called me up to discuss it and the conversation went something like this:
“I need a LaunchQ for Houston. It will be the toughest one this fall. Can you handle it?”
Gulp. I knew nothing about Houston. I went there once for a week while I was processed to head overseas. I knew no one with even a remote connection to the nation’s fourth largest city. Nevertheless, I rolled up my sleeves and set out to plant a flag in the Southwest.
As luck would have it (again, if you believe in such), OBT sent me a couple of names of pax who had recently moved to Houston. A great team came together and 17 men showed up on launch day. After months of plotting, planning, scheming, tagging Zac Ephron (One of Chaser’s favorite moves) in tweets and loads of praying, I felt like I was going to puke the Friday night before and even on the morning of the launch. Fortunately for YHC, Duggar and TheBishop had been on an EH mission and we had a great group of guys out there. That day, Britney and Inferno showed up for their first workout. Those two men continue to lead F3Houston as it continues to grow and expand.
Shortly after that first coffeteria, I sent Chaser a text expressing as best I could the high I was on after the launch. The feeling was incredible! I would wait with bated breath to see the count tweets from the workouts. My heart is racing now as I type just recalling those moments and cursing the time difference between Eastern and Central standard times. That extra hour can be maddening.
It was exhilarating (and still is!) to see the men in that area really grab hold of F3 and follow the rabbit hole down as far as it will go.
Like those men, I was hooked.
So I tossed my name in the ring for a second city in the Spring. I was assigned Birmingham and couldn’t wait to get started there. And, again, I was fortunate to have two pax from other areas (BarneyFife and Scam) who had moved to Birmingham. And we set about planning the launch.
And even on the second go round, there is not enough valium in this world to ease the anxiety of the Friday before a launch. Scam and I tried to accomplish that mission with margaritas (it was Cinco de Mayo after all), but it didn’t work. Margaritas taste pretty dang good, though.
The strangest thing happened in Birmingham. BarneyFife, who I had never met before I set foot in Birmingham the night before the launch, offered his guest room for me to stay in. Read that last sentence again. Fife and I had never met. Yet he was comfortable opening his home to me. When I travelled back down a month later to do QSchool, he even invited me to a nice party for the folks in his neighborhood. We EH’d every guy who dared to show up to that cocktail party. It was a blast.
Fife and I continue to stay in touch and I made a dang good friend out of that launch effort.
And I continue to see the lives of men being changed. As long as there are shovel flags being planted in the ground in those two cities, I can say that I helped make that happen. That is a very gratifying feeling.
As we sit on the precipice of a concentric plant here at home and a very exciting Fall LEAP season, I can be heard in every CoT offering up essentially the same pitch:
“If you have gotten any value out this circle, then it is incumbent upon you to freely give away what you have freely been given. Water, when it becomes stagnant, begins to stink and breed all manner of vile things (like mosquitoes!). But when water flows it remains constantly fresh. It is our duty to tell other men about F3. You may not be able to go down range, but there are thousands of other ways to help. Get involved.”
That, too, is my plea here. We need people to keep track of budgets and expenses. We need people to support the endeavor financially. We need people to research and scout areas for AOs. We need people to contact local churches and other organizations. We need people to use social media and other tools to get the word out. We need people to help plan the logistics of such an endeavor. We need people to make shovel flags. Heck, we need just about every skill set out there. This is a big undertaking.
I would be happy to chat with anyone and help them plug in to a team to carry the message. Hopefully, I will see YOU in one of these new cities soon!