The Extraordinary Impact of an EO Opportunity

Article by:
Michael Ross EO Orange County
Michael Ross
EO Orange County

Amazing things can happen when you least expect it. Recently, EO partnered with British Airways for a premier networking event that let select members fly to London, England, and beyond for free. After learning about this amazing opportunity, I followed the advice of my business coach and entered the contest. I was honored to be selected for such an innovative program … little did I know that the decision to participate would transform my professional life.

Almost every great story is a result of serendipity. I met Deb Hey, a fellow EO member, on the EO/BA flight. She organized a “speed-dating” networking exercise on the upper deck of the chartered 747 aircraft. At 37,000 feet, people gathered together to learn about one another’s companies. Deb and I quickly connected and spent the next seven and a half hours sharing life and business experiences in typical EO fashion. Upon landing, we carved out a significant amount of time to grow a business idea that had come about when we were in the clouds. Before we continued to our respective British Airways destinations, we agreed to reconnect and pursue our idea down the line.

Following the EO/BA event, Deb and I remained in contact. We were convinced that our backgrounds and experience, coupled with our contacts and ability to work together, was a recipe for success. After additional meetings, we launched Altitude 7 Group, a strategic, government sales and marketing firm dedicated to increasing government (US and foreign) business for our clients. In essence, we utilize our networks and experience to deliver government customers and the funding required to close federal government sales. The vision and conception for our company materialized mid-flight—at the altitude of seven miles—providing our company name. All in all, this was an adventurous trip that taught me a lot.

Here are some key lessons I took away from the journey:

  • Get out of your comfort zone, and extraordinary things happen. I challenge you to reflect on all of your amazing accomplishments and consider how often they occurred when you were outside of your comfort zone. I am the most successful when I’m faced with exciting, new stimuli. Somehow, connecting with the world outside the one I experience daily challenges me to rise to new heights. During the flight, the easiest thing to do would have been to just enjoy my business class seat and relax. Instead, I was inspired to spend the time networking and discovering my next business venture.

  • Be open to opportunities that reveal themselves when you least expect it. Impromptu plans are sometimes better than following a tried-and-true path. My original expectation for the trip was to meet with investors and industry partners. In fact, jumping into the speed-networking game on the spot was just the revelation I needed. It opened up doors for a new opportunity I never knew I desired!

  • Spend some time alone to think. My best creative thinking occurs when I have no distractions. However you can find private time, even if it’s just a walk around the block (or half a day traveling in an airplane), take some time for your ideas to materialize without effort.

  • Always follow your instincts. As any entrepreneur can attest, you should always trust your gut when it comes to business. And no matter what road you wind up taking, don’t look back. As I learned on this recent trip, there’s so much ahead of you!

I can happily say that this EO experience was a once-in-a-lifetime event. Not only was I able to meet many likeminded people, but I established a company that has my entrepreneurial engine revving in overdrive. What’s more, I learned an awful lot about myself in the process.​

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