Paying Attention to What Matters
The original message I planned will have to wait. Instead I'd like to honor someone who always seemed to pay attention to what matters. As a client it was never about her, but what would advance others' careers and goals. It was never about her when we worked side by side in the same consulting practice; she always contributed her best, and whomever she interacted with knew that right then and there they were what mattered most. For Margie it was all about relationships; she was a "people person" extraordinaire!
These days it's hard not to be distracted by our own concerns and agendas - finding work, keeping work, meeting financial obligations, looking good, feeling good, etc. Of course Margie had her share of those, including most recently a debilitating case of Parkinson's Disease; through it all, though, Margie was Margie - positive, hopeful, helpful, sense of humor intact and a joy to be around. Margie experienced losses, got dealt the occasional bad hand and faced the kinds of challenges most of us do and more, but was never defined by them. What defined Margie for me was that I could always tell what mattered most to her - family, kids, the love of her life John, people, relationships and serving; I knew that because that is how she consistently lived her life.
We all have a lot on our radar right now - projects due, deals to close, deals lost, rising work expectations, economic uncertainties and the list goes on. Of course we must do our best rising to these challenges, but let us not lose sight of what really matters - in the end. What really matters will not be so much what we've achieved, what we've accumulated, our ratings, score or much of what we're sometimes led to believe it's all about. Our legacy and how we're remembered will likely not be about such things as much as how others felt in our presence and the degree that we enriched their lives- the degree they felt valued, encouraged, empowered and loved. This is certainly true in life; I believe it is true for leaders and organizations as well. Sometimes we learn too late that things we think count in fact count very little, and that things we pay little heed to in fact count a great deal.
Margie just lost her battle with Parkinson's Disease, and we will all be poorer for that. I've learned much from how she lived her life, how she faced her hardships and how she consistently paid attention to what really matters; for that I am very grateful.
You can visit Margie's online memorial here
- What matters the most to you? What do you value and cherish above all?
- Is how you show up - in life and at work - a true reflection of what matters most to you? Who else agrees?
- Is your organization paying attention to what matters most? Is it somehow counting all the things that really count?
Many of the things you can count, don't count. Many of the things you can't count, really count.
You don't choose the day you enter the world and you don't choose the day you leave. It's what you do in between that makes all the difference.
Be life long or short, its completeness depends on what it was lived for.
David Starr Jordan
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