Monday, January 9, 2012

When In Doubt, Ask - The Answer May Surprise You

I found myself in a difficult situation over the weekend, wondering how to respectfully, professionally resolve an impasse that was holding a project back from its true success potential.

As I was mulling over this impasse, I received an interesting email.  I’ve changed the private information.

Hi Harry,

My name is “C”, I live in “State” - last September 11th, our daughter and my mother went to see the San Francisco Giants play in SF. As a tribute they gave each person at the stadium a 9/11 Remembrance Poster with someones name on it that was killed on 9/11. My daughter received Narender Nath's. I've been doing some digging and it appears that you knew him. I'm hoping you could help me find an address for his sister, who has posted several messages on various websites.

We framed the poster and it has become a permanent picture on our wall in our mountain home. I had taken some pictures of the poster and was hoping to send those pictures to his family (from “State”). Not only is it hanging on the wall, but I've printed off his obituary, etc. and it is a conversation piece for all who visit. I guess it's our memorial from 3000 miles away.

Thanks you for your time.



I have written about Narender many times, including in this blog entry.

The timing of this email intrigued me.

Narender was a man of high ideals who believed in the power of doing the right thing, even when it was painful or difficult.  He believed that corrective action delivered with respect trumped ignoring the need to do so just because one didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or make waves.  He knew how to deliver such action in a way that was respectful to all, with an eye towards long-term win/wins above short-term pain avoidance.

As I contemplated this email, my thoughts turned to Narender, replaying many of our shared times in my mind and as I did so, I could almost hear Narender counselling me about what I should do in my current situation.

I followed the advice I believe he would have given me.  Who knows where it will go but I did the best I could, with respect to others and with a mutual long-term win as the center of my proposal.

Some people will think that an email like the one above is creepy or inappropriate.  They may wonder why someone would bother to frame the poster of a complete stranger on their wall.  They might also think that the idea that this email could trigger a solution to my problem would be absurd.

Others might see it differently, thinking it intriguing or moving that someone who is no longer with us can impact a complete stranger in such a powerful way or help someone solve a problem without actually being here to help solve it.

Personally, I believe in the latter.

Narender always had a positive influence on everyone around him.  Even more than 10 years after he was taken from us, he continues to have such an influence, a testament to the legacy of a man known for the hearts he touched.

At a moment when I was asking no one in particular about how to deal with a difficult situation, an answer appeared. In addition to that answer, two strangers have been connected and have an opportunity to positively influence each other.

That’s just like Narender – always looking for a way to help others.

Which begs the question …….. was this email:

coincidence or random chance?

a supernatural connection?

a result influenced by the Divine?

Do any of us really know?

More importantly, does it really matter?

Or is it more important to be cognizant of our Life legacy and the impact that we have on others, including those we have not seen in a long time or may never have met at all?

I know what Narender’s answer would be.

In service and servanthood,


Here is a copy of the poster that “C” is referring to.



  1. This spoke to my heart, Harry. Since I do not believe in random chances, I would say that the Divine is within us and around us. I see the hand of the Divine in this. We are here to remember and in remembering, give their souls light. Blessed Be. Laura

    1. Thank you for such kind words, Laura.

      Create a great day!