Uncategorized Nov 17, 2018

Recently I took a trip to Ireland to scout locations for my 2 events next year.  I visited Ireland a few times before which is EXACTLY why I chose to return.  


I've heard people say we are headed into a difficult financial period.  I’m no economist, financial adviser or soothsayer.  However, I will prepare myself and others for potential bumps, potholes or just huge sinkholes in the road ahead.

My experience of the Irish people is that they are immensely RESILIENT!  And that’s the primary theme for my event next year:  Facing Turbulent Times — Learning from Irish Resilience.

I could go on and on about Irish resilience century over century, but my story begins with a young woman named Ellen Hurley.  I’m our family genealogist and her name appears in the family tree.  Her story, though, hit a particular chord for me when I visited her home town of Tralee in 2014.

Ellen Hurley boarded a boat to the United States to escape Ireland’s famed potato blight.  On my visit to Tralee, more than 100 years later, I asked a local restaurateur if there was anyone named Hurley in town.  “Oh yes sir, about 200 families with the name Hurley.”  Hmm...they probably get that question about 200 times a year.  

When we took our tour of Tralee, I eagerly told our congenial tour guide about my family roots in town.  He promptly took me to the Tralee dock and invited me to come up.  As I stepped up the stairs on that small dock, he said, “if your ancestor, Ellen Hurley, left Tralee during the potato blight, she stood on this dock.”

Have you ever experienced a spiritual SHOCK?  It’s kind of like an electrical shock except it goes through your soul.  I immediately imagined standing on that dock, waiting for a boat to take me to the promise of a better life.  I don’t know who will meet me on the other end.  I know that the boat has about a horrible mortality rate.  I may not even speak English.  All my belongings are in a bag at my side.  That’s it.   My most prized possession: Hope.

In that moment, I realize I AM her legacy.  I AM flesh and blood of her hope for a better life.

Yep, that’s a spiritual shock!!  

I'm proud of the Ellen Hurley's courage and determination.  I made a commitment that day to EARN my family name!

Yes, the Irish people are resilient.  They bounce back.

When I returned to Ireland this year, we were met at border control by another congenial man.  “Passport please”.   After a long redeye flight, I dug down deep and responded with as much lilt as I could muster in my voice, “How are YOU today, sir?”  He flashed a smile and asked what I do for a living.  “Retired”.  “Oh, lucky you”.   And we engaged in a lively conversation!  My consistent experience in Ireland is that if YOU engage, THEY level up the engagement....with joy, laughter and if you’re lucky, a bit of their own story.

And therein lies their RESILIENCE.  It’s an attitude that leaks out of your soul and lights up your face with a hearty smile—just waiting — to ENGAGE!  To PLAY!  

And that's my hope and challenge to you....RESILIENCE doesn’t have to mean bearing down, gritting your teeth and beating the odds.  Resilience is also just flashing a bright smile....even if it’s raining.

Let's learn from Irish resilience.  When someone engages, muster a little curiosity.  Flash a smile.  And LEVEL UP.  What happens next may surprise you!


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