After the recent passing of Leonard Nimoy, I started reflecting on things he has done that have influenced me as well as my own personal experience meeting him a few years ago…
The first thing that comes to mind is the Vulcan hand salute that we all are familiar with that usually is accompanied by, “Live long and prosper.” But do you know where that hand gesture came from? Above is a short video of Mr. Nimoy telling the story.
Now on to my personal experience with the man best known as simply, “Mr. Spock”.
I was never a huge fan of the original Star Trek series and I connected with it long after all of the original movies had aired. Later I started watching the reruns and fell in love with Star Trek: The Next Generation and since then I’ve seen all of the Star Trek movies and nearly every episode of the various TV series from the Star Trek universe.
On April 20th 2009 Leonard Nimoy was scheduled to be one of the stars featured at the 20th annual Star Trek Expo here in Tulsa. I thought it would be cool to meet him, so I reached out to a connection I had who in turn introduced me to the owner of the event. Nearly everyone loves Chick-fil-A, so I offered to provide food for all of the actors and that opened a door for me to potentially meet Spock as well as many others.
Throughout the day of the event, I made many deliveries to the convention center, running back and forth from my store bringing fresh food for the special guests. On one of those trips, I was rolling two large delivery boxes on a dolly toward my vehicle and saw Leonard Nimoy coming in the door in front of me flanked by two large men who could only have been bodyguards. I guess that I was momentarily star struck because I didn’t see the pillar sticking out from the wall in front of me and promptly ran into it, boxes and all. “Are you all right?”, he asked. Embarrassed that I had been that clumsy – and in front of Mr. Spock, no less! – I sheepishly replied, “Yes. Thank you” and continued to my car.
Moments later as my face returned to it’s normal color I realized that I totally forgot the questions I wanted to ask him. I had been so intimidated by his star status (and my subsequent encounter with the pillar) that my mind went blank. Later I realized that if he was indeed the untouchable mega star that I had pictured him being, he likely wouldn’t have even asked if I was OK.
Looking back on that situation, there are a few key takeaways I want to share with you that I wish I had been preparing in my own life at the time:
- My path toward my dreams won’t look like other people’s path. That’s not only OK, but it’s the way things are supposed to be.
- The fears that we encounter are often not based in reality. We tell ourselves stories that are not true and then react to them in fear rather than in confidence because we fear what others might think or what may happen.
- The more we practice, the better we will be when the opportunity arrives. This can be with smaller experiences or simply rehearsing mentally, but if we’ve already “been there”, we’ll be far more comfortable when the big moments arrive.
Oh, and one more thing: I heard from some of the servers in the green room at the event. Mr. Spock chose a Chick-fil-A sandwich for lunch that day.