When I moved into that cramped sound booth, I was nervous and excited. I was also short on equipment, expertise, and experience. But I had created my own broadcasting opportunity, and I believed it would work. It did, but it wasn’t as glamorous as I had envisioned. I sat down in front of the mic to record my first leadership podcast, and with each word I spoke, my breath pumped that tiny room with heat. I wish I was joking. Within five minutes I was drenched in sweat! It certainly didn’t feel like I had landed my dream job, but I knew it was a start.
I wince when I think back on those podcasts today. It’s embarrassing! I had no idea what I was doing, yet somehow—I guess because it was one of the first leadership podcasts out there—I actually had a few listeners. But here’s what’s more important: that sound booth gave me a chance to do something I was passionate about and gain some real experience in the field I was pursuing. That’s what proximity will do for you.
My start-up podcast may not have been at the top of the charts, but as my talent and passion began to intersect, the guys at Catalyst took notice and gave me the chance to emcee their live leadership events. I was so grateful for this opportunity, but, man, I felt like a hot dog in a steak house! I got to interview the famous football coach Tony Dungy and the creator of Survivor and The Voice, Mark Burnett. I even got to interview a guy who hosted one of the biggest radio shows in America, The Dave Ramsey Show.
Without even knowing it, The Proximity Principle was beginning to work in my own journey. Step by step, I began putting myself in proximity to the right people in the right places. And each step of the way, I was getting in closer proximity to my dream job.”
Yes, that tiny sound booth was a humble start. I couldn’t always see the significance of what I was doing, and I definitely wasn’t doing it well. But it was exactly where I needed to be. I was learning from people who knew what I needed to know. I was working toward my goal and taking another step up the mountain.
I was practicing The Proximity Principle.