My next-door neighbor is dying.
He’s in the end stages of a terminal liver disease, and his wife called me in tears tonight. She wanted me to come over and help her move him from the living room to his bed. I was happy to do so, but it took the help of another neighbor to get the job done.
Afterward, we looked at his wife, a scared and devastated woman about half the size of her husband, and a frightening thought hit us: What happens when we leave? How can she possibly take care of her husband by herself? She couldn’t, of course, so we called 911 and had him taken to a nearby hospital, where he could get the care he needs and his wife could get some rest.
This man is 66 years old.
To you youngsters out there, that seems ancient. It’s not. Sixty-six will be here before you know it. For me, it’s just 19 years away. It’s the same age my father was when he died … more than 12 years ago.
Most of us think we’re indestructible, don’t we? We all know we’re going to die some day, but we’re usually able to ignore that unpleasant fact and keep living however the hell we want.
You know what? We could all stand to think about death every now and then.
Want to make a difference? To leave something behind for your family? To grow your business? To be around long enough to do the things you want to do, hit the numbers you want to reach, provide for your family, and make the world a better place?
Start now. Time is a finite resource. You’ll run out of it sooner or later.
Save your money. Get healthy. Build a succession plan. Give back to your community. Help others do all of the above.
In short, be a better person in everything you do. Make a difference — for you, for your family, for your clients, for your business, for complete strangers.
The end is out there, staring at us in the face.
What we do between now and then will define us — as colleagues, as businesses, as people.
Especially as people.