TUESDAY, JANUARY 13TH, 2009
The pace of the world seems to keep increasing. We’re all faced with multiple tasks to complete, activities and projects to start, news, articles to read to keep up with, people demanding our attention or people we should be demanding to pay attention to us. There is never an end to the things we can and should be doing.
I meant to write this blog much earlier, shortly after Christmas, but you see my priorities changed during the Christmas season. My older brother who had prostate cancer suddenly discovered that his condition had changed. The cancer had spread to his bones and his time with us would soon be coming to an end. His condition worsened around Christmas and he became very sick and more detached. Several times when I called him around the holidays he didn’t have enough interest even to speak to me, so I would spend time speaking to his daughter in law who was his primary care-taker. Hospice was brought in and we hoped and prayed for the best. On Tuesday of last week I called to speak to him and for the first time in about a week he spoke to me for about an hour. For the next two days his condition improved greatly, he ate his favorite foods, and was much more responsive. Friday was much different. He moved into a place that hospice care associates with those close to death. I spent the weekend with him, talking to him, watching sports and his favorite TV shows, and sharing his life with his family. He was only responsive for a brief moments and I did my best to tell him how much I loved him and how much he meant to me.
My brother was 11 years older than me. He was the first person I can remember looking up to, admiring and trying to emulate. When he got married and moved away permanently from our house I was heartbroken. I remember crying and clinging to him when he was leaving. Everything I did up until the time I was about ten was an effort to be just like him. I remember wanting to be color blind because he was, and not realizing until high school that I actually was, so much had I wanted to be that I thought maybe I had made that up just to be like him.
In 1973 my brother was in a car accident. From that time until the present he was a quadriplegic. His accident was different from most, in that it occurred at a drag race. He was driving a super sport Plymouth Barracuda, “The Matchmaker” when the oil gasket broke shooting oil under the wheels. His car overturned 7 times. This was before mandatory roll bars and many of the safety measures common now. In addition the ambulance that was supposed to be there had earlier taken a boy to the hospital that had fallen in the stands. My brother was rushed to the hospital in a fire truck, and they didn’t expect him to live.
My brother had a passion for life and racing that helped him to live far beyond the normal expectancy of most quadriplegics. Despite spending more than 2 years in the hospital he emerged to live back at his home.
When I graduated from college in 1975 I had several job offers to consider in broadcasting. One of the reasons I chose to accept an offer in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin was so I could be close to my brother and offer him help and support. For the next 8 years I did what I could to help him through a painful divorce, drive him to the race track and to the shop where they continued to work on the two cars he owned, plus spend every Sunday and Monday night with him watching football games. It was the one thing I could do to help him, despite the fact I didn’t enjoy racing. I’m glad now that I made that a priority in my life because I know it meant a lot to him to have some freedom to enjoy the things he had a passion for.
Our priorities have a way of changing, even sneaking up on us. Relationships with our family and friends should always be our most important priorities. I intended this to be about priorities when I originally formulated this blog in my mind. It’s ironic how my priorities changed radically when I discovered how sick my brother was.
With the coming year expected to be a serious challenge, it is critical that we make sure we have our priorities in the right order. In the absence of my lack of focus on business priorities presently, I ask you to review two of my previous blogs – Four Decisions for Growth 3-03-08 and One Thing – Dream Manager 2-18-08. The former to discover where you may need to focus your priorities, the latter to determine the need and value for focusing on your most important priority for 2009.
Forgive my absence for the past 2 weeks. I wish you, your family, and business much health and happiness in the New Year!
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