What a week! Returning to the Twin Cities from a 10 day trip that included two keynotes and a surprise weekend visit with Mom for Mother’s Day. In spite of lost luggage (permanently), a sinus infection and miserable Minnesota weather I am grateful. In spite of what I lost (some gear), what I gained is so much more. I have received the generous and permanent gift of wisdom. A weekend with my Mom typically includes red wine and reflection. She is a talented teacher, artist, gardener, caregiver and conversationalist. She listens. Careful and contemplative with her advice, it comes in small doses and is customized just for me. It is a unique gift that I now suspect only she can give. It had been a while since just the two of us spent this kind of time together. Talking. Laughing. Smiling. Sharing. Learning. It was a weekend I won’t soon forget. On Wednesday morning I was departing the Samoset in Maine and upon entering my shuttle to the airport Richard reached out his hand and extended a warm welcome. We had two hours of transition time and I cannot begin to explain why my headset wasn’t where it always is when I am on the move – in my ears. As we set out Richard dove in and we spent a good bit of time talking about the topic of the keynote address I had just delivered, The Generations at Work. Richard is a traditionalist. A local. A veteran. A family man. A man willing to sacrifice for a worthwhile cause. He lived and learned. Loved and lost. We were gaining ground into territory that mattered. Talking intently about risk and regret. Where you find the most meaning and what really matters when it’s all said and done. I was probing and Richard was on roll. It was a shuttle ride I won’t soon forget. During our conversation I felt my phone vibrating inside my jacket. It was the middle of the day and I made the standard move we all make. I was going for the mutli-task. Check messages, respond and continue right on with Richard. Then I stopped. I thought for a moment about the content of my keynote. The gaps that naturally exist given our unique life experiences. I recognized, however briefly, that Richard certainly recalled a time where you didn’t text message when a man was talking to another man about the meaning of life. Where eye contact and undivided attention were signs of respect. I left the phone alone. A wise man told me that in life you typically end up regretting the things you don’t do more than you regret the mistakes you make. He actually told me you learn quite a bit more from those mistakes so you are “ready for the next go around.” He talked about treating people with respect and putting family first. He talked about the short amount of time we are here and that it was nice to see a young man doing something that mattered. Thanks Richard. I was listening. Right before I left on this trip a close friend sent me the enclosed video on Wisdom. I fell in love with it’s content and have watched it countless times. The timing was perfect and I am quite certain it put me in the frame of mind to be aware and pay attention. The gift of wisdom is all around us. Sometimes you just have to stop and listen.
Ryan Estis is a Keynote Speaker & Management Consultant blogging about business performance.