Driving on a moonless night from San Fransisco to the capitol of Nevada in Carson City, I found myself sliding through a heavy snowstorm, surrounded by fog, down an icy hill in a thick forrest outside of the small town of South Lake Tahoe at 7,000 ft. elevation. My headlights went off, as did the lights on the dash. I was sliding in snowy darkness unsure if I would hit into a tree, a stone wall, or fly off the edge of a cliff.
Eventually, the car came to a stop without incident in the darkness and I used my cell phone flashlight to help guide me as I pushed it off the side of the road. Fortunately there were no other cars on the pass. And I was so grateful that my grandmother had insisted I go home and grab a coat before I begin this journey. It helped as I pushed the car in the snow and then waited 4 hours for a tow truck to arrive.
Sitting in the cold car, in the darkness, I had time to think about the major events of my life the last few months since the last edition of this newsletter.
Most of them have to do with Life, Death, and Meaning.
A few days ago I celebrated The Day of the Dead in the Mission District of San Fransisco. Before that on Halloween night I performed a Theatrical Seance in front of a sold out audience in a historic theater attempting to bring Houdini through the vail and back from the grave. He died at the age of 52 on Halloween night. 52 years later I was born. Coincidence? 😉
24 hours before that show I was the murderer in a Murder Mystery created for PBS and held at the Smithsonian approved Mob Museum in Las Vegas. That event took place the same day I had performed on stage at Sam’s Town Casino for a mostly retired crowd of over 800 Las Vegas Locals.
However, the event where I learned and changed the most was a few days before that while in Florida working with one of the top 100 Hospitals in the nation. They have made it their goal to save more lives, extend life, and help their community have longer happier lives. And they have charged me with helping them in several small ways on that journey over the past 5 years.
Part of my job is to help identify the culture of the staff and help create a more compassionate workplace where we strive to take care of each other so we are better at caring for others. This includes work on communication skills, diversity training, managing change fatigue, and learning what respect for people really means from a leadership perspective.
I always start with asking the teams to build the rules for our days together. Rather than handing them a rule book, we choose what kind of community or tribe we want to create. This group created rules that resonated with me:
If you are speaking, be honest. Find ways to let others know that you respect them, that you are willing to help them, And that you will keep them safe. Participate to your full ability. Be honest about your full ability. pursue happiness. Create moments of fun for others. Start on time. Take breaks. Eat, drink, and take care of your body. And use your cell phones as little as possible.
I didn’t create these rules. They did. For at least 2 days they lived by them. Perhaps they still do, on their floor and in their department. It is amazing how wonderful and free people are when given the right tools, the right environment, and the right mindset.
If we really learn how to live, and live well by caring for others, we don’t have to fear death.
Let me know if I can help facilitate fun at your holiday parties or brighten your meetings this December, lets create days your guests will remember for years to come.
Read more about Paul:
Paul Draper Mentalism (pdf)
Transformational Leadership with Paul Draper (pdf)
Singing from Las Vegas to Broadway
Here I am in Las Vegas singing while performing some magic.
And this is in Time Square after my Off Broadway performance at the Players Theater in New York.
ComicCon: Salt Lake City!
A funny impromptu moment with a fan at my show at Salt Lake Comic Con.
Some footage of my interviewing Sean Astin at Comic Con: