Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Death: Always a Perspective Setter

Within the last week, I have learned of three people within my community of coaching and organizational development who have passed away. None of the individuals was elderly, and in fact, one could argue that they were quite young, with the youngest being a mere 41 years old when he died.

I went onto the FaceBook page of one individual, and was amazed at the outpouring of comments, concern, and memories that were being posted by seemingly hundreds of individuals. As I read through many posts, I was reminded of what really matters. Not a single statement said “Tadd was a great program designer” or “Tadd was a great classroom facilitator” or “Tadd was an insightful consultant.” Not a single comment reflected what Tadd did for his work and career and living. On the contrary, each and every single comment spoke to his character—who he was—or the contribution he had made to individuals. People spoke of his heart, his generosity, his humor, how much he cared, how much he gave.

I reflected on my own life and began pondering how many hours I spend every day and every week, striving to be a great coach/consultant/business partner. How many hours I spend deepening my knowledge in my field, or sharpening my skills to use. When there is time and mindshare remaining, I might intentionally think about how I can make a difference to the people closest to me and how I can extend myself through caring acts of kindness and contribution to others. However, the latter is too often a secondary focus.

Now the good news is that much of my work revolves around helping others and contributing to those around me, whether I am coaching them, or training leaders to be better leaders to those around them, or partnering with clients who are trying to solve problems.

Yet, reading that single FaceBook page, I am reminded of the phrase I heard years ago, “people will not remember what you said or what you did, but they will remember how they felt as a result.” Would you join me in a little reflection…how are people feeling as a result of their interactions and experience with you? I know for myself, it is time to do a little “reset” in this area.

And, I’ll burn a candle for the three individuals who are no longer with us. You are missed.