The only two times I've been to Madison I've come in probably the worst part of the year. Visiting in December 2007 and again in February 2014, I'm greeted with banks of snow, frigid air, and a general wonderment of how people live like this during the winter.
But Madison is more for me.
I spoke yesterday to a group of students about leadership. I set foot on the same campus six years after determining what it was I was going to do for a living.
Back in 2007 Rebecca Thorman asked me to come speak to a group of young professionals she led. It was my first major speaking gig out of the state, talking about something I loved (as in, not social media) to a group I loved speaking to.
What came out of that journey was a great friend and a resolve to make it as a speaker, writer, and entrepreneur.
Coming back to this place doesn't mean I've made it as I'm well aware of the fragile nature of this business and any business I run. But it does offer me a signpost in the journey, marking the steps I've traveled thus far.
I think monuments are overrated. If you're waiting for accolades in your career to cement the fact you're successful, you may be waiting for a very long time. I think what you need is a cold rental car drive past the lake at night, or cutting up with students before you walk on stage. What you need isn't a fat paycheck or celebrity status. What you need is to visit that place where you once were so you can see that success is only a few small steps removed from the starting line.