I’m 34 years old. I look older. I’ve reached the point in life where the good days are gone in a flash and the less good days seem to drag like they never did before.
The way time itself works in changing – seasons just seem to drift into each other and my daughter is growing and changing two steps faster than I could ever keep up. I feel old before my time – or this may be my time and I can’t quite comprehend that yet.
I went for a walk this morning. During a very English downpour I attempted to remember all of the role models – or people that I’ve wanted to grow up to be – that I’ve had at different times in my life. I think they have changed as I have.
In broad chronological order I can remember the following
- Elliott from ET
- Han Solo
- He Man
- Dogtanian (a Muskahound)
- Atticus Finch
- Robert Howley/Robert Jones (Welsh rugby players)
- Maverick in Top Gun
- Jack Russell (English wicketkeeper)
- My Uncle Mike
- Alexander the Great
- Demetrius the Besieger
- Friedrich Nietzsche
- Chief Brody (from Jaws)
- John Nash
- Stephen Levitt (of Freakonomics fame)
- Jefferson Smith
- Malcolm Gladwell
- George Bailey
- Real people that I’ve met
George Bailey is the main character in It’s a Wonderful Life. If you haven’t watched it then stop reading this blog and watch it. If you don’t enjoy black and white films then watch it anyway.
George Bailey is the odd one out in my list for a few key reasons
i) George Bailey has held a special place in this list for almost 15 years
ii) he has no superpowers
iii) he has no fame, he has little recognition, he has no access to untold cash reserves.
He is just a man who does the right thing when faced with difficult choices – willing to compromise his own ambitions to help others and focused on family and community. George Bailey, above all things, wants to be worthwhile and as the years have passed by and my dreams have been replaced by principles, I’d be quite happy to have people say that about me when I’m gone.
I’m interested in making organisations better, primarily because I’m interested in helping people. This may not sound very businesslike, but that is simply because there is a tension between business commercials and compassion that has always existed.
If you want to hear someone speak passionately about that tension then don’t hire a motivational speaker, just listen to George Bailey. Some lessons endure.