Monday, February 28, 2011

One Month to Live

My friend Brad asked a question last week that struck me so hard that I lost track of the conversation for a bit, lost in my thoughts. What if I only had 24 hours left on this earth? For most of us, it's fairly similar - going and letting all those we care about how much we love them, maybe forgiving some people or asking forgiveness. As powerful as that is, in my friend's opinion, how much more powerful if the question was "What if you had a month to live, or a year?" That question is richer, deeper, because you had time to do something, other than just communicate. You can change. And you can change lives.

Brielle Murray has changed a lot of lives. Barely 13 years old, she has touched many, many lives as she faced RMS cancer for the last three years. She passed away on Friday, February 17 at 9:45 A.M. In her room were still thank you cards and valentines that she was making for others. Brad's question had me going over and over Brielle's short life - here she was thinking of others while facing unbelievable challenges. Perhaps that question is part of the answer.

In our culture of Me First, we don't often think of what's left behind when the Me is gone. And yet, that's what's lasting. Recently, I was talking to a key person in one company's agile adoption and he kept referencing how one executive had made such a difference. When I went on LinkedIn to find out more, I saw that the executive had moved on to another opportunity years earlier. But you wouldn't know it from the way the agilist was talking - it was like the executive was still there. In some ways, he was. That exec was still making a difference through how he had impacted this agilist, and now how that agilist was coaching his ScrumMasters, QA folks, developers and others on the teams he was over.

You can make a difference. You can change lives - the way people view challenges, believe in themselves, respond to failure, treat others. But it doesn't start later. It starts now. It's starts with the focus, resolve and passion you would have if you were just told that you only have months or a year to live.

Below are some resources on how others responded to the same question -

Technorati Tags: , , , ,


MT said...

How powerful is that? The stories of Brielle and the executive ring very true. I bet we all know people like them that stay with us for a lifetime. What would the world be like if our culture of ME turned into a culture much like that of Brielle and made the short time we have here all about others?

Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

We should all live today as if it were our last because it well could be. I will not need to tell those I love that I love them...I do every time I see or talk to them. I have no amends to make...I make them when the hurt is caused. If I die tomorrow I am ok....and those around me will be as well. I hope all of this will help others to remember that life is a gift and we have no idea when the expiration date gently with those around you.