I hope you’ve been following me on LinkedIn, ATD, and CLO where I have posted blogs the past several months. Time to come back home and share some thoughts.
We learn in the most unusual ways, in the most unusual places. How many of you have been to a funeral of a friend, a friend’s parents, someone you know from your club, group, or house of worship? I find it always amazing how I learn things that I never knew, that I wish I knew, about the person. That I wish we had a chance to talk about. Lessons and a legacy that the person “leaves behind” for the rest of us to learn and pick up on.
Lois was one of those people – bright, colorful, talented, warm and friendly to all. She loved bright colors, playing in outstanding orchestras and ensembles, and living life to the fullest. Lesson 1: always live life to the fullest, no matter what. Lesson 2: be yourself, conform to your own values and beliefs. Lesson 3: be excellent at what you love to do.
But it doesn’t take a eulogy or passing to celebrate. My cousin’s 90th birthday brought about so many accolades – how she dedicates herself to the homeless, to soup kitchens, to reaching out to those in need. How she quietly and without fanfare has made a difference to those around her for all her adult life. Lesson 4: Do what you believe is the right thing to do. Lesson 5: Do what you believe for yourself – if accolades come, so be it, but don’t do it for recognition. Lesson 6: Tell people while they are here how much of a difference they make.
My friend Karolus celebrated his 70th birthday, and spontaneously the same thing happened. What a creative soul he is. How his work in theater, in training, and in culture inspires so many others. How he can create a life and journey that can weather the bumps along the way and still turn out like the journey we all want to travel on. Lesson 7: Each of us has our own journey. Lesson 8: Allow people to tell you what you mean to them. Lesson 9: Even bumps along the way are good if they keep us on the path we want to be on.
Lesson 10: To thine own self be true (thanks to the Bard for this lesson). Whatever we do and wherever we go, the only person we truly have to answer to is the person in the mirror. Be true to yourself, to your values, beliefs, and ideals. To your sense of adventure, friendship, and journeys. Cherish the people you care most about and let them know. Too often we don’t do that. Too often we show up a different way in one setting versus another. As you can see in Lessons 1-9 these people showed up the same way wherever they went. Lesson 10 says that by being true to yourself, you can do so too. Imagine a life of openness, honesty, and transparency. Imagine YOUR life well lived. Make it so.