This past week has been an extra busy one for me – for a very sad reason. My elderly neighbour (in his 80’s), who has been in hospital or residential homes for most of the past 12 months was rushed into Stepping Hill a week ago, and was not expected to make it through the next 24 hours.
That is sad in itself. What makes it worse is that he appears to have no relatives that care about him. His sister is overseas and never replies to messages – unless it is a request for money – and his nephew who lives in the North East has not been over once in the past 12 months to visit.
So – who does he have? Well, most of his friends have already passed away or are old and/or ill and therefore can’t visit. So that leaves me and my other half, and the old man’s gardener. To be fair the gardener has been much more than a gardener for the last couple of years – taking him to doctor’s appointments, Marks and Spencer, Opticians and fetching and carrying for him. And we have cooked his tea, got his papers, fixed stuff, painted his fences and stopped to talk to him when we can.
He is still with us, and who knows – he may recover, though the doctors don’t seem to think so. But what I thought was both touching and sad on Sunday was this. We were sitting by his bed, he was holding my hand – it was glorious sunshine outside, and he said “What could be better, lying here with the sunshine pouring in, with my best friends”.
Of course, I was touched he thought so, but also sad. We are young enough to be his grandchildren, if not his children – and we are the best friends he has?
And it made me contemplate how short life is – even if you live into your 80’s. One of my mentors, is prone to saying – if you can count on one hand the number of people who will be at your funeral – you lived a life of small significance. I’m not sure I totally agree with him – if you live a long life – a lot of your friends will have gone before you.
However, I get his point. If you bring value to the people around you – no matter what your age – people would want to come and honour your life at your funeral. Look at Stephen Hawking. Thousands will be there. I would like to think – when I pop off – that as I have friends, acquaintances, clients and team members of all generations – that they would want to come. Perhaps YOU would want to be there? You’re very welcome!
So, my thought for today is – what value do you bring – not just to your family and friends, but to your clients, your team, your acquaintances….to strangers.
You see, if you bring value – you will never be without friends, or clients. If you hide your light under a bushel, play small (because you think to yourself ‘who am I to play big?’) or you focus on what value others bring to you, and not what you bring to others, then watch out. That’s not how the universe works. I know it sometimes looks that way – we all know of people who don’t appear to ‘deserve’ what they get. But forget about them. You don’t know what their karma is.
The important thing is to make every day count….for someone else. If you can impact one person every day in a positive way, I truly believe, the universe gives it back to you in all sorts of unexpected ways.
So – say a little prayer – if you believe in that sort of thing – for all the lonely people, for my neighbour. And make today count, for you, your loved ones and anyone who comes in contact with you today. The more you give, the happier you will be, and in business terms – the more you give, the more likely your potential clients are to give back (their trust) to you.