Saturday, May 21, 2011

Gross Miscalculation.......

Every month for the last ten plus years I have held a meeting with my Store Managers and key people to review sales, introduce new people and products, and make any important announcements. These meetings, though only a couple of hours long, required tons of preparation and an energetic presentation on my part. For the last year, as my symptoms became more difficult to manage, I grew to dread the event.

It is difficult to mask dread and be a motivational speaker.

In preparing my Power Point slides for our May meeting I inserted this image at the end of my presentation with the intent of announcing that this was to be MY last meeting. As I rehearsed my thoughtful, inspirational, motivatingly instructional (in my mind) spiel, I would inevitably reach the final "That's all Folks" slide and my emotions would begin to swell at the thought that such a meaningful part of my life was about to end.

Many (most) men define themselves by what they do for a living. Indeed, historically, even our surnames were derived from our jobs: Shoemaker, Carpenter, even Smith (skilled-worker). Choosing to quit work under ANY circumstance would have been difficult for me. Now it is nearly intolerable.

I finally decided that I would only use the slide and make the announcement if I felt I was in a state of mind where I could say the words with strength, enthusiasm, and with a smile on my face. I made a gross miscalculation!

The meeting went well. I was prepared and had the self confidence that comes only from experience. As I finished the final topic I took measure of my self-control and made the decision to say the words out loud. The slide flashed onto the screen and I said, "This will be the last meeting that I'll attend." I continued as if my voice was coming from a place in me that could not feel. I explained that I had other things in my life that I needed to accomplish in the time I had left and closed with a "That's all Folks."

For a brief moment I thought I'd made it through the ordeal unscathed. I had never considered the impact my words would have on the men in the room. Some were more than co-workers. Some were friends. Some I had mentored, others I had coached through difficult times in their lives . One was my son.

One by one they came to me with hugs, handshakes, and halting words that I cannot recall. The floodgates opened. I turned and faced the wall lest they see their leader crumble.



  1. I'm so sorry you had to prepare such a talk, knowing it would be the last - but I'm so glad you got to make one last captivating, inspiring presentation. And I'm quite sure it won't be the last meaningful thing you accomplish and live. You take good care.

  2. My mother was diagnosed with cbgd in 2006. Thank you for being an inspiration.

  3. Headstrong,
    Thank you. I DO have a couple of things I hope to accomplish,

    I'm so sorry about your Mother. If I was going to offer ANY advice it would be to smile often. It lifts our spirits to know there is happiness in your heart. Hearing my wife's laughter lifts my soul.

  4. Save your fork, CW!! The BEST is yet to come! :)
    (Share that sentiment with your SUPERwife and you'll hear more than laughter! You'll SEE pure JOY!!) :)

  5. You were brave to make such a presentation and brave to post about it. I hope the saying is true that as one door closes, another opens.


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