I can still remember tearing up at the 2014 Access: Velocity event as Erik Weihenmayer shared his “No Barriers” approach to life and perspective at the meeting.

Since that special time in Chicago, Erik’s been busy. He’s just released a new book, No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon.

As always, Erik does a great job showing how we can move forward in our lives with growth and purpose. Here are a couple reviews:

“In this highly inspirational tale, the Grand Canyon, like Everest and other summits, becomes a metaphor for life: physical, mental, and psychological . . .  A wonderful tribute to the greatness of the human spirit.”  – Kirkus Reviews

“More than a story about a blind man converting the improbable to the possible, this volume provides a powerful testament to the human spirit… Guaranteed to inspire.” — Booklist

I would encourage you to get your copy, and advance your own “No Barriers” approach to life here.

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An Afterglow That Shines Strong

by dpollak on 02/12/2017 · 0 comments

It’s hard to pinpoint the proper word.

Moved. Uplifted. Changed. Inspired.

The reality is I’m feeling a combination of all of these as I bask in the afterglow of meeting Pope Francis last week.

To be sure, I’m very touched by all the kind words, love and support from all of you who followed my once-in-a-lifetime experience in Rome. The messages on Facebook, the Cox Automotive Fuel page, and in my e-mail inbox give me hope and strength. Many of you share my desire for more civility, compassion and humility among each other, and those we don’t even know.

Perhaps most striking is the realization, and an increasingly unshakable belief, that all of this positive energy emanates from those few moments I shared with Pope Francis.

I’ve met a lot of people in my life that all of us would consider famous or important. None of those encounters comes anywhere close to matching the experience of feeling the Pope’s personal touch, and knowing, while not even understanding, that the words he shared with me carried deep significance.

I’m now convinced that he imparted to me a special lesson—that every moment with someone else, however fleeting, connects to a larger current, shared by everyone. It’s our choice to give this current greater strength, or divert its momentum. Our choice is evidenced by the way we engage and treat others, and whether we choose to open our hearts and minds in a manner that reflects our shared humanity.

I’ll be forever grateful to Pope Francis for offering this life lesson to me, and for the opportunity to learn it and share it with all of you.

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Moving. Inspiring. Mystical. Powerful. Spiritual.

Those were the words running through my mind after speaking Dale and Pope Francis 225x300 Day 3 in Rome: A Truly Magical Momentone-on-one with Pope Francis earlier today.

Thankfully, I woke up this morning with a clear idea of what I would say to the leader of the world’s largest faith.

“Your Holiness. I want to thank you for the light that you bring to our world. I want you to know that I’m an American citizen and I’m very concerned. As an American, I’m very concerned about the hate, and the speech of hate, in our country today. Your Holy Father, what I would ask you to do, is to use your voice to speak out against the hate in America.”

Pope Francis then took my arm with both hands and held it firm. He leaned his head into my chest. He said a prayer, his head moving up and down.

“He’s praying for me and my country, and he’s praying directly into my heart,” I thought.

I felt a sense of awakening. A connection. I understood in an instant that Pope Francis has a special gift—knowing how to reach, and touch, people in the most meaningful way.

Several members of our group asked me what I’d said. They had seen the Pope’s reaction. I didn’t really know what to say, as I couldn’t really say anything. The most magical moment of my life was still sinking in.

As we left the room, I said my own prayer of thanks—for the opportunity, for the compassion and grace Pope Francis shared with me, and for the knowledge that I’d been heard and for the peace I hope will come.

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Day 2 in Rome: Two-Way Diplomacy, Pasta and Nerves

02.09.2017

I’ve gained a far deeper appreciation of the day-to-day work of diplomats during my time here. Prior to this visit, my experience with diplomacy and foreign affairs largely came from books. I’ve wondered what it was like, in older days, to be an ambassador to another country, entrusted to look after the interests of your [...]

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Day 1 in Rome: Hope, Concern, History—And Gelato

02.07.2017

My first full day of planned group activities in Rome got off to an extremely inspiring start. We met with the Sisters of Sion, a group of nuns who are committed to fostering unity among peoples of different religions, and celebrating diversity of thought. The Sisters have outposts around the world. They work tirelessly as [...]

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A Once-In-A-Lifetime Honor And Opportunity

02.06.2017

I make it a personal priority to give back. I consider myself blessed and fortunate. I know that whatever personal and professional success I’ve achieved owes an awful lot to others. I simply wouldn’t be the person I am today, or at my current station in life, without the gifts of guidance, help and support [...]

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NADA Dispatch 3: Final Reflections On A First-Rate Show

01.30.2017

A colleague asked me this morning to share my single-biggest take-away from this year’s NADA convention in New Orleans. My response: Dealers are sharpening their game. Compared to past NADAs, there were more dealers who noted the “e-word”—efficiency—as they described their plans for the coming year. The dealers correctly understand that improved performance, proficiency and [...]

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NADA Dispatch 2: It Ain’t So Easy In The Big Easy

01.29.2017

There’s a good vibe here in New Orleans. If it were Las Vegas, you might say dealers are doubling down on their technology investments. There are two kinds of dealers who visit the vAuto and Stockwave booths. Those who are looking for a better way, and current customers asking us to help them sharpen their [...]

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NADA Dispatch 1: Inventories, Efficiencies and the Future

01.28.2017

Dealers are pretty clear-eyed about the coming months in the car business, judging from my conversations on the opening day of the exhibit hall at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) convention here in New Orleans. Overall, dealers are generally optimistic that we’ll have another relatively strong year in terms of new and used vehicle [...]

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NADA 2017: A Milestone Moment For Our Industry

01.23.2017

It’s fitting that this year’s National Automobile Dealers Association convention will occur in New Orleans. What better place to celebrate NADA’s 100th anniversary than the city where “laissez les bons temps rouler!” is the order of any day? The anniversary is an important milestone for our industry. If it weren’t for NADA, the enduring strength [...]

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