Have you thought about someone who intersected your life and left an indelible mark?
Someone who inspired you to pursue a life of significance rather than simply coast through your days…?
For me, it was Rose.
As a keynote speaker and executive coach, I meet hundreds of people, and they’ve all taught me something…but Rose…she was special.
I like me best when I’m with you…
I cannot talk about living a life of significance without introducing you to a rose among thorns. I met her in chemistry class on the first day of my senior year in college.
The professor challenged us to introduce ourselves to someone we did not know.
Before I could move, a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned to find a wrinkled, older lady whose smile lit up her face like a Las Vegas street sign. She said…
Hey, handsome, my name is Rose. I am eighty-seven years old. Do you want to get lucky?
Once a day, as Rose walked between classes, she would stop at the library plaza to rest her weary legs.
With the huge fountain spraying and the breeze blowing mist into the air, Rose would hold court.
Within minutes, up to two hundred students sat at her feet, basking in her attitude of gratitude and ode to joy.
They say wisdom is the gift of the elderly, and Rose epitomized the quip, “When an old woman dies, an entire library burns to the ground.”
Every person who interacted with Rose left her saying,
I like me best when I’m with you. I want to see you again.
Rose was so inspirational that we had her speak at an end-of-year football banquet. I’ll never forget the laugh she provided when she stepped to the podium and dropped her speech. With 3×5 cards all over the floor, Rose calmly leaned into the microphone and said,
I’m sorry I’m so nervous. I gave up beer for Lent, and this whiskey is killing me!
I still have my notes from that evening all those years ago and have reconstructed Rose’s remarks to the best of my ability. You can read them in my book…
I know I and the audience will never forget her wisdom.
You are one in a billion
You are one person among seven billion on this earth. And yes, you are unique and special.
There are no duplicate fingerprints for any two people who have ever lived. But the path to significance occurs against the prior and obvious background of our own insignificance.
Given how small we all are, it is only through our hard work and actions that we can take on meaning in the minds of others.
Significance is the legacy we leave behind because of the good we’ve done, not only after we die – the old will, the young may – but especially while we live.
Being significant must be startling, unexpected, just as Rose was startling and unexpected to me.
It must come to a world that is not prepared for it.
So, what will it be for you?
Are you up for the challenge of living a life of significance?
Rose moved every single person she encountered. Her moxy, her humor, her willingness to share her eight decades of life experience.
Will you be remembered for having made the world a better place?
In times of crisis or difficulty, I rediscover my own answers to these questions by counting my blessings in life and giving thanks to my family, friends, coworkers, and teammates.
I come away motivated to hunker down once again and live by the Twelve Highest Universal Laws of Life-Changing Leadership.
I challenge you to do the same.