Inspiration from the road

By Monty Hagler


I found it on a recent trip to Canada for the Worldcom Public Relations Group global meeting.  A flicker came from the meeting itself, which was chock full of information, wisdom and best practices from leading public relations agencies throughout the world. A spark was generated from my final meeting as a Worldcom Global Board member, a responsibility that I greatly enjoyed and learned from. There was a glow during 2,500 miles of driving (with my fiancée Jane Nickles as my co-pilot) through gorgeous countryside along the old Canadian highway to explore Niagara Falls, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City. 

But the inspiration flame was lit while reading a book on the journey up and watching a band in an empty hotel bar on the way home. 

Flying Colors is a novel by my friend Chris Laney. He worked on it for years and years, rewriting and refining it amid rejections from publishers who all wanted something different. Something this. Something that. It is so easy for people to say no. It is so easy to give up. Chris never did. He took the feedback that made sense and he incorporated it, but he never lost sight of his vision for what he wanted his story to bring to readers. He pushed it forward and he got it published. 

When it debuted, Flying Colors was the #1 new release on Amazon in the Philosophy & Metaphysical category. It ranked among bestsellers like Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Mitch Albom’s Five People You Meet in Heaven. 

It’s an easy, fast read that will make you think about life’s possibilities and perhaps change how you view the world. I encourage everyone to buy a copy.

On our way home from Canada, we reentered the United States via Vermont. It was the final state I had not visited. Like the other 49, it did not disappoint. Expanses of green, rugged terrain, delicious local restaurants, a Great Lake and historic town squares. 

On a hot Friday night, The Chris Lyon Band set up to play in our hotel bar. Jane and I wandered in, ordered some drinks and sat down to listen. The band kicked in, playing mostly original songs rather than covers. They radiated passion and joy. We clapped, cheered and danced. We asked for more. For 2 hours, they played for us (literally, no one else showed up except for hotel staff). While I know the band would have loved a packed house, we could tell they were playing because they love music. Chris Lyon writes music because he has stories to tell, and emotions to capture. And he is going to get them out there. Find him on your favorite streaming music channel.  

Since our return to Greensboro, I’ve reflected on the commitment and focus that both Chris Laney and Chris Lyon have to pursue their passions. They’ve inspired me to recommit to my own professional and personal goals. I’m fortunate that I have a clear vision of what is important to me, the path I want to follow and what makes me happy. I may or may not be successful in all that I want to achieve. I know it will require hundreds (thousands) of hours, with two steps forward and hopefully only one step back along the way. It is better than sitting still.