Larry Allen was my best builder. He left us way too early on May 21, 2009, but he’s far from gone. His influence remains. You see, friend, Larry caught me doing something right, 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. LA esteemed me.
Larry was committed to mastering his craft. He and I would read the same books and wrestle over our learnings together. His perspective was always different and yet 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 we became truth in love brothers. Never delivered perfectly, never received perfectly or pain free either. Over time 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 want you to figure out A, how to nuance B, and reconstruct 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 excellence. Nobody wants to hear truth from someone that isn’t on the road to mastery. Embrace this.
C.Build your integrity. Building another requires that you aim at a life of integrity, first. C.S. Lewis was correct – putting first things first makes second things more. Aim at marrying more truth in your life and you just may be invited into another’s. You may be.
Thanks LA, for being my builder. Thanks for building me on this journey and bringing structure and order to my imperfect mess. Thanks for your patience and being an amazing model for me to follow. 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, how we’ll get back, or where the “white roads” may lead. Side by side, we will ride. Side by side we’ll ride, maybe even LA’s way this time. LA’s way. Good…