Don't Sleep on Planes

February 08, 2018

Don’t Sleep On Planes, the title of Zachary Hall’s new book, explains how we can harness the power of strangers to increase personal success and fulfillment.  The book is based on Hall’s philosophy that the power of people (aka strangers) is amazing and that it takes people to bring our dreams to life.

The Power of People

Friends and colleagues were all once strangers, Hall points out. If you keep your mind and heart open and talk with strangers you encounter on planes, at the grocery store, standing in line to buy a hot dog at the ballpark, you’ll meet incredible people.

Through chance meetings with business leaders, athletes, government officials, and others, Hall has created a network of people he can rely on for advice, support, inspiration, and even influence.

Throughout the years, Hall has stayed in contact with anyone and everyone who ever shared their story of success, offered him advice or help. In his book, Hall recounts stories of meeting restauranteurs, actors, hotel executives, musicians and others he met via chance encounters on airplanes, at breakfast counters, or standing in line.

“Not having much as a kid probably made me more reliant on connections than most people. I knew from an early age that the only way I could get ahead was with the help of others. But I’ve found that no matter how successful I get, I’m still going to need help getting to the next level.” - Zach Hall

Sweat Equity

As a kid growing up in Maryvale, Hall knew that the road to success began with a great education – and he dreamed of going to college. However, if Hall was going to make that dream a reality, he would have to work really hard – and he did.

While completing his Associate’s degree in business at Phoenix College (PC), Hall simultaneously pursued a Bachelor’s degree at Arizona State University (ASU), while working full-time at Great Skate roller-skating rink. Later that same year, Hall tried out for the Phoenix Sun’s “Dunk Team,” his first role in the sports entertainment industry.

Hall remembers navigating his crazy schedule attending classes at PC and then at ASU in the mornings, working at Great Skate in the afternoons, and performing at Phoenix Sun’s games in the evenings. Hall says he did this for four years, “Paying his bills and his dues.”

His role with the Phoenix Suns led to a full time position as mascot coordinator with the Arizona Diamondbacks. When asked what he enjoys most about his role with the Diamondbacks, Hall says he loves creating memories and special moments at the ballpark for kids and families.

Building a Book through Networking

After completing his MBA two years ago, Hall created a list of all the things he wanted to accomplish in his life; number 47 on the list was write a book. Of all the things on his list, writing a book seemed like one he could work on a little at a time. Why not start now, Hall wondered.

Hall contemplated all the things he didn’t know about writing a book. Hall didn’t know how to write a manuscript, but he knew someone who did. Hall didn’t know copyright law, but he knew an attorney he could call for help.

What seemed like a daunting project was made manageable as Hall began documenting stories and teachable moments from his life. With the idea for his book and a handful of stories compiled, Hall leveraged the relationships he had cultivated over many years, reaching out to the people in his network to help.

Hall has received an outpouring of support for his book from CEOs, professors, and others he has met over the years. He continues to live the philosophy – working his connections to create personal and professional opportunities for himself and others.

Future Direction

When asked what’s next for him, Hall reports that he is getting married in December, which will bring new experiences to his life.  He plans to continue his role with the Arizona Diamondbacks, while keeping his eyes open for new opportunities to make an impact in his community.

Hall says he would also love to give back to PC, maybe teaching. 

“I have great memories of my time at Phoenix College. Business instructor Cindy Cloud and basketball coach Matt Gordon both inspired me to find my passion.” - Zach Hall

Hall hopes he can be an inspiration to others, and that his book might help people find the value in chance encounters. Hall has many baseball hats in his closet, but the hat he’s wearing lately reads, “Don’t Sleep on Planes.” If you see him wearing his hat, chat him up; you never know where the conversation will lead, and that’s the point.  

About Phoenix College

Phoenix College is one of the 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation. Phoenix College offers academic courses leading to associate degrees, university transfer, certificates and short-term job training to more than 11,000 students annually.