I met Dick when his CEO introduced us after one of our one on one practices. Dick was nice, slimmer than most and all gray; the kind of gray that had been earned. When my client decided to host a three day BTL practice for his leadership team I thought Dick was going to hit the roof. Dick was the CFO and this was going to be costly. Opening day started with Dick in the very front facing me. He just sat there bored stiff, or so I assumed. Day two brought more of the same. He planted himself in the front, stared me down, and no matter how hard I tried nothing seemed to get through. The team of twenty five was coming together minus one – Dick.

Day three is always magic. The fortresses come down and the masks come off. Dick, however, sat in the same tired, old, seat; albeit front and center. Day three went according to plan and my client was feeling good. You can’t catch ’em all on fire so we both felt Dick hadn’t really hurt us. Day three ends with everyone having the chance to share something they’re turning into new productive action. This is always special. People genuinely want to get better; there are just so few companies willing to invest. This company is different. Lots of folks shared and a few tears were shed.

We were past our projected finish time when the last person spoke and I headed to the front to play one final video. Before I could hit play; Dick hit us all. The room went silent. Dick stood and spoke from his heart. He cried. I mean he really cried. He told his team he had not been the kinda leader, friend, husband, or father that he desired. He promised to change and ripped our hearts out with his honesty and humility. He shared a few specifics about how he planned to change and then he sat down. He was spent.

My assumptions were all wrong. Dick wasn’t the problem. The story does not end here. Dick went back and changed his world. He became BTL and blew us away with his newfound clarity. He became a truth teller for his CEO, built his strong CORE and authored his OPUS. He learned a foreign language and shed some weight. He left the land of victimhood and took up residence just this side of chaos. A couple years later he left the company to pursue his OPUS in work and life. He left a legacy that forever changed those around him. After all, they were there when a “dead man” woke up. Assume less, friend. Those that appear to be on fire may simply be the ones that crave attention. Keep showing up, keep challenging everyone, and keep believing in the power of real, hard, practice. Who knows who may be waking up. Thanks, Dick for reminding me to assume less. Thanks Dick.

Live hard. Love harder…

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