I was in the Portland airport this month, which happens to be the place where one of the most extraordinary stories in my life began. Here’s what happened:
Seven and a half years ago, I sat in the airport atrium annoyed that I wasn’t able to fly standby on an earlier flight back to Denver. I had flown up to Portland for a job interview that hadn’t gone well, and I was hoping to get home earlier. The gate agent had acknowledged available seats, but some technicality with my ticket didn’t provide the opportunity to get onboard.
Angry at the gate agent and frustrated with my luck, I took a seat on a bench in the airport atrium and defaulted to my phone to entertain me for the six hours until the next flight. I rarely used Twitter back then, but I had a lot of time to kill, so I found myself mindlessly scrolling through Twitter. Somewhere in those six hours, there was a tweet posted from the Unreasonable Institute (what is now Uncharted) seeking a 10-hour per week unpaid intern to lend a hand for five weeks. I was coming off another unsuccessful job interview, and I was feeling insecure; a 10-hour per week unpaid internship for five weeks wasn’t my idea of a career opportunity, but I kept getting rejected from every job I applied to, so on the flight home, I updated my resume and drafted a cover letter. One month later I was hired, and seven and half years later I am still here with the privilege of serving as the CEO.
If I had been able to board that earlier flight, I wouldn’t have ever come across that tweet looking for an internship. But something kept me off that flight and in the airport. The last 7.5 years have been the greatest adventure of my life and Unreasonable Institute/Uncharted has presented a career opportunity bigger than my wildest dreams. I had no idea when I came across that tweet, in the throes of my frustration and boredom, that it would lead to such a beautiful, unfolding journey ahead.
When I pause to think about it, many of the biggest leaps in my life have happened at unexpected, liminal moments. They have not entered through the front door with great fanfare and expectation, but instead happened when I’m least expecting it, when I’m most resisting it, when the last place to look is the place I’m most trying to escape from. Cheryl Strayed says: “There are some things you can’t understand yet. Your life will be a great and continuous unfolding.” So here’s to more long layovers, more frustration, more boredom. Here’s to letting this wondrous life continue to unfold.