A legacy of uplifting others

Posted by on October 20, 2018

A colleague of mine was recently killed in a tragic accident. His untimely death sent shockwaves through the professional world we both inhabited.

Hundreds of shocked and saddened people, just like myself, remember Robert Stroud as a highly respected professional who was a profoundly kind person. His professional accomplishments and stature made many of us just thankful when he made time for us.

The last conversation I had with Rob was a phone call where I was explaining my idea for my next book. The longer we talked, the more engaged he was with my idea. The last words he said to me had a profound impact on me.

He said, “Greg, that book has to be written, and I’ll make it mandatory reading”.

To fully understand the gravity of those words, you need to understand Rob’s professional qualifications, accomplishments and industry stature, as well as his personal credibility. His were not casual words of encouragement. At least not to me. For me, the full weight of everything he was, was casting his unrestrained vote of confidence in both me and my idea.

Greg, that book has to be written, and I’ll make it mandatory readingI got off the phone vibrating with my new found confidence to write the book and do so in a way that’s a significant contribution to the industry, worthy of his highest praise. It is an enormous challenge, but, I have to say, the vote of confidence from this industry icon empowered me.

He believed in me.

If he didn’t, he wouldn’t have said so. I believe in his belief in me.

In his death, I’ve come to realize that it’s not just me. Rob uplifted many people, including me. He used his influence to make all of us better, and yet I kind of doubt that it was a conscious choice for him. It’s just who he was. It’s what he did. And those of us who were privileged to know him are eternally better for his influence in our lives.

As I recall the profound impact Rob had on me, I offer some suggestions for would-be leaders.

  1. Cultivate a genuine interest in others.
  2. Make time for everyone – especially those from whom you stand to gain nothing
  3. Listen intently both to their spoken words, and unspoken, underlying dreams and passions
  4. Find things to like about others and focus on those
  5. Lift other up with whatever credibility you have acquired
  6. Engage, inspire and encourage.
  7. Be a whole and complete person so you can be of help to others

Thank you, Rob, for the impact you’ve had on my life, and the legacy you’ve left behind. I will do my best to follow in your footsteps, to the very best of my ability.

Posted in: Leadership

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