Larry Allen was my best builder. I don’t mean that in a corporate sense, although, in a corporate sense, he was in a category of one. Instead, I want you to take this personally. I mean this personally. Larry was my best builder, period. He left us way too early on May 21, 2009. He left us but he’s far from gone. His influence remains. So, as I’m reflecting, this seems like the perfect time to share the recipe for becoming someone’s best builder. Do not miss this. This is huge. You see, friend, Larry caught me doing something right, something bright, something he admired, and he told me. He told me that I was a “genius” over and over, to the point of embarrassment, and he meant it. In other words, he focused on getting his ratios right. Remember, great “couples,” just like great teams, transmit their positive to negative emotions 4:1. (Thank you John & Julie Gottman)
Larry gave me his esteem, from a full heart and a clear mind. And, Larry was committed to mastering his craft. Larry was always pursuing his opus with a masters dedication. He and I would read the same books and wrestle over our learnings together. His perspective was always different and at the same time very aligned with mine. His commitment to mastery gave him credibility with me. When I asked for feedback, he told me the unvarnished truth. This made us both miserable until we learned each other’s language. Eventually, our relationship would grow into one where we would openly tell each other the truth in love. Never delivered perfectly, never without pain, and never received perfectly and pain free either. Over time, however, we began to see that each of us wanted to get better. We were figuring out how to live our tagline and, together we transformed. Larry would want me to give you the recipe and spell it out from A, B, C all the way to Z. Me, not so much. I would want you to figure out which is A, how to nuance B, and reconstruct your version of C, and even throw in a D for good measure.
So, Larry, here’s the A,B,C’s of becoming a builder of another. I hope you’re happy with the recipe.
A. Get your ratios right. 4:1 positive to negative is the minimum. 9:1 is magic. Find the “bright spots” and openly esteem another. I still suck at this one.
B. Master your craft. Your credibility depends on you being committed to being exceptional. Nobody wants to hear the truth from someone that isn’t on the road to mastery. Never stop studying, learning, and applying. Masters never arrive. Embrace this.
C.Build your integrity. Building another requires that you aim at a life of integrity, first. Yes, Clive was correct – putting first things first makes second things more. None of us will arrive here but it is the only worthy aim. Aim at marrying more and more truth in your life and you just may be invited into another’s. You may be. Once you are invited, speak truth in LOVE. This is so simple and yet it’s always real, hard, work. Do it anyway.
Thanks my brother, LA, for being my builder. Thanks for building me on this journey and thanks for bringing your structure and order to my imperfect mess. Thanks for your patience, thanks for being an amazing model for me to follow. Thank you, my brother. Someday soon, we’ll be reunited in perfect truth in LOVE. And, on that day, I’ve already got a bike route planned. I’m not telling you the route, I’m not sure which direction we’re headed, how we’ll get back, where the “white roads” may lead, and how long it will take. All I know is we’ll have a lot of catching up to do. Side by side, we will ride. Side by side, my builder. Side by side, my dear LA. Side by side we’ll ride, maybe even LA’s way this time. LA’s way. Good.
Live hard. Love harder (Thanks, Teeks)…