By Gino Blefari
This week my travels found me first in Provo, Utah for the Mavericks II mastermind meeting, hosted by Bruce Tucker, CEO at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Real Estate and Steve Cuillard, president at Elite Real Estate. After Utah, I flew to New York to attend the HomeServices of America, Inc. East Region CEO Meeting, hosted by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New York Properties.
As it happens, Wall Street was on my mind this week, and in particular the publication that bears its namesake – The Wall Street Journal. Recently, The Wall Street Journal published a fascinating article about one of my favorite topics, dinosaurs. In the story, reporter Robert Lee Hotz details new findings by scientists drilling into the seafloor off Mexico. The team extracted a “unique geologic record of the single worst day in the history of the Earth,” which occurred 65 million years ago when an asteroid the size of 20 Londons or 33 Manhattans struck the Yucatán Peninsula, setting fire to everything in its path and creating mass extinctions of plants and animals, including most species of dinosaurs.
The newly discovered rock samples from the Chicxulub impact crater provide a minute-by-minute geological record of exactly what happened on that fateful day. According to the article, the rock samples show “traces of the explosive melting, massive earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and wildfires.”
As Hotz explains, rocks are like a geological history book that scientists can read to learn details about life millions of years ago, ascertained by the accumulation of rock layers over thousands of years. In the case of the Chicxulub crater, however, scientists from the drilling consortium said, “hundreds of feet of sediments built up rapidly, recording impact effects like a high-speed stop-action camera.”
Additionally, from the sediments of these particular extractions, the scientists were able to identify chemical evidence that the impact blew “hundreds of billions of tons of sulfur from pulverized ocean rock into the atmosphere, triggering a global winter.” During this time, average temperatures in some regions dropped by as much as 30 degrees Fahrenheit and remained that low for decades to come.
The rocks also told them the asteroid that hit Earth created a crater about 25 to 30 miles deep, which quickly turned into a boiling “cauldron of molten rocks and superheated steam.” A plume the size of Mount Everest emerged from the crater then collapsed on itself, “splashing gigantic waves of lava outward into a ring of high peaks.” Using the rock layers, scientists were able to create a detailed timeline of the events immediate after the asteroid hit, uncovering new information about what happened in the minutes, hours and days after impact.
Sean Gulick, a geophysicist at the University of Texas Austin, who led the drilling, explained: “We think the reflected tsunami brought back these traces of land and these tiny, tiny charcoal fragments. The land was clearly on fire.”
But let’s fast forward 65 million years and get back to the present week, when this new information about the asteroid happened to coincide with another piece of unrelated but interesting information. On our franchise support team, we recently hired someone new in the PR and Communications Department. He arrived as our Marketing team was compiling an eBook from the archives of Thoughts on Leadership posts.
As the team was going through the posts, one member took notice when she reached the Thoughts on Leadership post from June 21, 2018.
“What is this?” she asked, completely puzzled. She was staring at a photo of the new teammate from the year before.
The week of June 21, 2018 Mike Ferry’s wife, Sabrina, had said in lieu of getting Mike something for his birthday, friends and colleagues should pay it forward for a nationwide campaign called #IMadeADifferenceDay. In my Thoughts on Leadership post, I documented my participation in the initiative, and went to the local coffee shop near our Irvine, California headquarters to buy someone’s coffee.
It was an incredible coincidence. I discovered our new teammate was the person whose coffee I had purchased, and he discovered I was the person who’d bought him coffee for the campaign. When we hired him, we had no idea he was featured in the post. It was only because of the Thoughts on Leadership eBook project that we discovered we’d met serendipitously before.
So, what’s the message? As leaders we sometimes think of our stories as having the traditional beginning, middle and end. Something happens that’s noteworthy, there’s conflict in the middle and finally, there’s a resolution or conclusion to the tale. But stories are ever evolving as new information is brought to light. Just like the story of the Chicxulub crater or the coffee I bought for a stranger-turned-team-member, life’s narratives are hardly ever over when we think they are. They’re always changing. And the best thing about change is that it’s often coupled with continuous learning and improvement. A mentor of mine, Jim Rohn, once said, “Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.