This is like an unexpected flashback, like looking at a notch on your doorframe as a child and feeling shocked at how much you have grown. I just flew in to Detroit from Toronto, where I delivered our new workshop, Driving Innovation from Within, to a group of 80 executives. Tomorrow I will speak to room full of entrepreneurs about ways to accelerate growth. 

Whenever I travel, I search TripAdvisor for the best restaurant I can find. Whether it leads me to a five-star or a dive, the restaurant where I end up is always one of the top three places to find inventive food cooked by chefs who love their craft.

So in Detroit, as I stepped off the elevator at the 2nd floor and turned left to find the restaurant TripAdvisor led me to this time, a room opened up. Long marble bar, dark beams, exposed brick framing a giant dynamic painting of three sailboats fighting rough seas during a storm. Stevie Wonder pumping from the speakers amid dim, low-hanging lights.

Then it hit me … I’ve been here before!

I don’t come to Detroit often so never expected to cross my own path here. But two years ago, I facilitated an innovation session for a leading manufacturer of car parts, and my same strategy – seeking out the best chefs in an unknown city – led me to Wright & Company.

Recognition thrust me back to that workshop, two years ago, and it occurred how much I’ve grown in the last 24 months.

Experience (or perhaps just age) has raised my confidence in front of a room. I’ve moved beyond needing to prove to an audience that I’m worth listening to. I’m now pursuing a bigger goal: convincing people to do what they love.

Two years ago, standing in front of the room here in Detroit, I was no longer dropping my academic credentials and the names of big-brand clients. I was standing across from my audience speaking TO them.

Today I’m on the other side. I’m standing there next to my audience (figuratively speaking of course) pointing toward a vibrant, meaning-filled future worth fighting for.

Where were you two years ago today? Who were you two years ago today? How have YOU grown?