Scary retirement announcement?

Orlando Airport south entrance road expansion


(photo: Mid Life Celebration, LLC has been under construction for six years. Down to 12 days and counting.)

Intentionality creates better stories. Stories create culture and legacy.

Last night Mid Life Celebration went public with jeff noel’s retirement date which is only 12 days away on November 1, 2014.

Final day as a full-time Disney Leader is October 31 – Halloween.

How scary is that!

Insight: Could have picked any day. Intentionally picked Halloween as the last one. Because it is very scary to leave at 55.

And it’s part of the story.

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Before he could say anything, the other already knew

After days of facilitating transformational insights, we had a final dinner together at the Mexican restaurant below. While snapping a few pictures of the colorful decor, the other was getting caught up on work emails.


Mexican Restaurant


Orlando Based Keynote Speaker jeff noel


How many once-in-a-lifetime moments do we get?

The boss found out first a couple weeks ago. Then two days ago the colleague he respects immeasurably found out (second) via phone call. Yesterday everyone found out via an (earlier than expected) official email invitation from the boss.

The third person to find out was a client who would wonder why he never said anything all week. To nip that in the bud, he told her last night after the program, and asked her not to tell his colleague because he would do that himself at dinner.

Before the menus were opened, the colleague starts reading aloud the announcement from his work phone email.

It was a moment.

Oh well.

He understood after the explanation.

The next level of mid life celebration officially begins.

Napa Room

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Twenty days to nothing is impossible?

George Cloney asks:

“What if there was a place, a secret place, were nothing was impossible…a miraculous place where you could actually change the world. You wanna go?”



What if you could go to a place where nothing is impossible.

Would you go?

Twenty days until everything changes here.

So weird the Disney email with the trailer above arrived yesterday.

So weird that after six years, the starting line is in view.

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Have wanted to tell you a story

Disney brochure rack


(photo: There was only one Theme Park open at Walt Disney World when jungle jeff began his Disney career)

Have wanted to tell you a story. Been carrying it around for 50 years.

Between 1963 – 1966, Sunday night was the only night the brother and sister wouldn’t fight over what to watch on TV.

Fast forward a baker’s dozen years later and on the way through the Student Union Building (the SUB), the University Junior notices that Disney will be doing an internship presentation at 10pm. Something about Epcot Center opening October 1, 1982… Afterwards, interested students signed up for an interview. Interviews would be the next day, conducted across campus at the administration offices above the student cafeteria.

Two months later, nearing Christmas 1981, letters of acceptance were sent to prospective Cast Members.

And on January 25, 1982, with his Dad’s Army duffle bag and a back pack, he boarded the plane to Orlando. On the flight he sat next to a couple who fell in love with his sense of adventure and opportunity. Since he had no idea how to get to Snow White Campground (pre-Internet, obviously), the couple insisted on driving him there once they secured their rental car.

The next day, Monday, about 50 Magic Kingdom College Program (MKCP) students participated in Disney Traditions – Disney’s version of company orientation.

Interesting to note that shuttle service from the Disney intern housing area to Magic Kingdom had not yet been established and those without vehicles had to wait at Snow White Campground’s exit to ‘bum a ride’.

At Disney Tradition’s conclusion he was told to report the next day to the Jungle Cruise, in costume, to begin on-the-job training.

It was a week of driving the boat around and around with the Disney Trainer and two other MKCP interns. They took turns driving sections, memorizing the 10-minute spiel. The same spiel Walt Disney approved decades prior.

Eventually, nearing the end of the week, rather than pass through the loading area like they had all week, they occasionally stopped and filled their boat with Guests and one of the trainees took a try at being able to fly on their own. After the Guests disembarked, the boat cruised without Guests so the trainer and trainees could exchange feedback.

Within weeks of arriving in Orlando, a notice was sent to all MKCP Cast Members that Cast Activities was hiring an intern to help work the desk at the Center Building (now called Disney University) on Fridays and lifeguard at Little Lake Bryan on the weekends.

One lucky Jungle Cruise Skipper was selected which meant he only had to say the 10-minute spiel over and over twice a week versus five days a week.

However, less than 90 days into the job, Spring Break and Easter arrived and it was all hands on deck. Mandatory 14 straight work days at Jungle Cruise. Mandatory overtime. Some days were double shifts. Simply to cover all the shifts needed for one of the three busiest holidays of the year.

The pivotal moment.

A front line supervisor (his name long forgotten) pulled the rookie skipper aside and said:

Your cruises at the end of your shift need to be as good as the ones at the beginning of your shift.

The supervisor knew everyone would be physically tired, but it, predictably, was going to be a serious challenge to overcome the psychological exhaustion from working so hard for so long. So he added (and this was the moment):

Some of the Guests riding your boat will have saved the Jungle Cruise for last. Some will have had circumstances preventing them from visiting earlier. Many of these Guests, for a variety of reasons, will never return. Walt Disney would want every single Guest to have an excellent Jungle Cruise experience.

The Disney Leader embedded a key concept in the impressionable 23-year old. Excellence is not only expected, but gently demanded. All day. Everyday.

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Two of the most ordinary days are two of the most extraordinary

Earth and Moon from space


(photo: from iPhone camera, at The Houston Museum of Natural Science)

Editor’s note; This was written Sept 22.

What makes a writer choose category names? Say, the category ‘Life Transition (Dec 2014)‘.

December is a transition in life. Which leads us to…

Two of the most ordinary days on the calendar are two of the most extraordinary…

What do October 1 and December 5 have in common?

Two of Walt Disney’s birthdays.

Walt Disney World – October 1, 1971.

Walt Disney – December 5, 1901.

And in 10 days, October 1, a life changing announcement from Mid Life Celebration.

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Every morning jeff writes five different, short, and pithy posts about the challenging and wonderful balance between:

mind • body • spirit • work • home

All five websites are seamlessly connected by a convenient and easy to click link to go to the next topic.

Try it below if you never done it, or if it’s been awhile.

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