Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Gift From the Past

Today was one of those days where few things seemed to come together as hoped or desired.  We all have days like this, try as we might to avoid them.  The events of the day weighed heavily on me as I traveled home, unaware that a gift was waiting for me at home.

The gift was in the form of a message from a friend and client of mine in New Jersey by the name of Lucky P. whom I have not seen in almost 20 years.

What was funny about him calling is that I had been reminiscing a few days earlier about the great clients I have been blessed with over the years and I had named Lucky as one of my top three favorites.  This is no small feat, given that my career spans almost 30 years, covering almost all of the Fortune 50 and includes some of the most powerful and wealthiest people in the world as clients and colleagues.

And yet, several days after I have been praising this man as being extremely influential in my Life, here he is calling me because I am on his mind.  That’s the way my Life has always been – a sequence of serendipitous events that people find hard to believe until they witness it first hand. 

I called Lucky back and had the extreme delight and pleasure of getting “caught up”.  There were the usual niceties – family, career, home location, and such.

But there was an underlying theme in our conversation that took me back 20 years when I worked for Lucky and which made the last 20 years melt away.

When I worked for Lucky back in the early 90s in Neptune, New Jersey, there were a couple of things that struck me about him.

He treated everyone with deep respect.  Not just a cursory, obligatory, professional respect but a deep respect that made you feel like you mattered.

He also lived a life filled with gratitude – gratitude for his family, for his co-workers and for the abundance around him.  It was his deeply ingrained sense of gratitude for everything that opened my awareness to the importance of feeling and expressing gratitude, even in difficult times.

As I spoke to Lucky this evening, we effortlessly switched from one subject to another like it was only yesterday that we worked together.  As we did so, I noticed that the themes of respect and gratitude are still reflected in everything he thinks, says and does.

In fact, they seemed more ingrained now than ever … a true gift to have in the uncertain world that we live in.

When I worked for Lucky, the brunt of my career was still ahead of me - the difficulties, challenges, successes and victories that awaited my discovery.

But much of what guided me through those years to come was heavily influenced by people like Lucky – people who arrived at the right time in my Life and exhibited behaviors worth modeling.

And so as we talked, I was once again filled with gratitude for him and for the influence he had on my Life.

At a moment when I was ruminating over a difficult day, Lucky reappeared and again filled me with gratitude – gratitude that there are people in the world like him who remind the rest of us that respect-filled, gratitude-filled, heart-filled people still exist in the world.

Twenty years later, he is still teaching me but is probably too humble to take credit for it.

His call today reminds me of something else.

Each of us has an opportunity to change someone’s day (and maybe their Life) simply by reaching out and telling them that we are thinking of them.

We may have NO idea about the impact of such a call on the other person.

But they will know.

And that’s what matters.

In service and servanthood,


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