I have a theory. My theory is that there is an inverse relationship between status/power/rank and open demonstrations of good will. (When I was an engineer we spoke gleefully about inverse relationships as if they were the best kind to have.) In short, the higher we climb in life (status, power, rank) the less we see open kindness within that “elite” community. Life becomes more dog eat dog, me versus you, and good will between competitors (those other leaders in the corporate, non-profit, sports world, or anyone deemed as “on the opposing team”) can be difficult to find. Good will may look like weakness to some, but of course, the opposite is true. However, this notion of weakness can make it more difficult for our young people to understand that good will can be part of a viable success strategy. Plus, it’s free. Doesn’t cost you a dime.
I was walking toward Coach Weidenbach’s office when I saw Michael Brown coming off the ice. He had a big grin on his face. I threw him a friendly wave, all the while marveling at his height (6’ 7” without skates and he’s a FRESHMAN). He waved back and then bellowed, “You’re too old!” I wasn’t sure I heard him right. “Pardon me?” I said. He smiled and eagerly repeated, “You’re too old!” Then it dawned on me – he was investing in my success! I burst out laughing and thanked him. Before you dismiss us as crazy, read on.
Channel surfing can have its serendipitous moments, and I was the benefit of two of them this week. Each had strikingly different content. One of them showcased the best of our American society; the other, the worst (yes, it feels like we’ve seen a lot of that lately). What follows below is the tale of two leaders. Despite the stark differences, I believe there is reason for hope, and we can all participate!
Your legacy is what people say about you after you move on – graduate from high school, college, take a new job. The person responsible for your legacy is looking at you in the mirror. We tend to think of legacy as being something for old people, have-beens, those past their prime. Not true. I recently learned a lot about the importance of legacy from two young professionals just beginning their business careers – both are interns.
On a biting, dreary Detroit afternoon, my brother and I made our way downtown for the Brit Floyd concert. I didn’t know it yet, but I was about to learn (again) a very important lesson. There are only two ways to judge talent: a) measure it, or b) see it in action. In short, we must not judge any book by its stiff, hard cover.