At the end of my life I want to look back. No regrets. I stood up for the things that I believed in and that mattered. I made the tough choices. I helped elevate others. And I made a difference during my time here.
Nothing is Wasted
If I look back at the mistakes I made in my youth I might cringe wit’s an objective perspective. But I don’t do that anymore. I know those mistakes have been part of my journey, and ironically have turned what might have been a “disaster piece” to a highly detailed and complex mosaic masterpiece. The mistakes and follies I’d my past have helped shape and propel me to become the person I was designed to be. And none of my waste has been wasted under God’s watch. As I walk with Him he’s making use of all of it. It’s incredible, really. Where the world would make me feel ashamed, God has highlighted those areas and made them pillars in my life. And he is using them to help others and change lives.
One of the greatest heroes of my life was my grandpa (my mom’s dad). A fisherman, seafarer and businessman. My grandpa was great with his hands. He could do anything he set his mind to. I vividly remember his workshop – connected to his garage which was essentially an extension of the workshop. Like a Google street view, I could take you through all the intricacies of that shop – and the last time I saw it was 25 years ago. There were a labyrinth of little drawers with parts, labeled and carefully packaged, machine tools, drills, saws, masks, paints, sealers and noise makers (I loved the noise makers). It was an epic place. I was influenced by those things. My passion for organization and creation was seeded from that. And my grandpa wasn’t perfect. He was human like the rest of us. He made mistakes. A lot of them. He wasn’t a great father and he made plenty of business mistakes. But if you would any of his close friends and family about his life, there is without doubt, despite his flaws, that he was an incredible man and left a special legacy. He had a big heart for the world and the people in it.
Remember Who You Are
When I got to visit my grandpa he would take me out on little excursions. I remember those times so fondly. There were early morning trips to the dental lab he owned and ran. I can still remember the smell of his Old Spice aftershave and burnt toast – that was the only way he would eat it in the morning. And the trips to the hardware stores to get supplies for his boat. Those were always fun and an exploration of the imagination. My favorite though was the fishing excursions. He knew just where to go. He always managed to get the biggest catch no matter the day. We would take home a smorgasbord of fish, from rock fish, flounder and salmon. My grandpa loved his grandkids. I remember him spending the time with me on the boat, to teach me fishing knots, one loop at a time. He was always incredibly patient.
He knew how stuff worked. I remember watching him work on the engine of his yacht. He could fix just about anything. From a motorbike to full sized yacht. And he always made it look easy. When I think about it all, it kind of baffles the mind a bit. He taught me practical things and ways to live life just by the way he lived it. I learned through just being around and observing, as kids do. I learned how to connect and relate with people through him. The power of humility and listening. Whenever he took me out it seemed like everyone in the town knew him. His friends loved him like he was family. He truly impacted people. And it seemed as the years went by that only grew with time. A thousand people attended his funeral. He was just 65 years old; I was 9. His life had been cut short, but he had lived it full.
My grandpa left a legacy to his family. He knew truth throughout much of his life, being married to my grandma who regularly attended church, but he didn’t give up control of his life until the very last few days. I often wonder, “if he had known Jesus earlier on, would his life have turned out differently? Would the impact and legacy he left have been greater, less or the same?”
I think without knowing I have sought to better understand what he had done to commit his strength to loving others so genuinely. My grandpa was a great businessman, and that might have helped, but I believe the fundamentals that made him a great businessman were not related to business or a high IQ. It was his EQ or emotional intelligence and genuine desire to connect with others. My grandpa really knew how to connect and reach other. It began with humble beginnings. The environment he grew up in was unique. Unlike many of his friends later in life from Victoria, my grandpa had lived his late teens and early 20s in the remote northern tip of Vancouver Island in a place called Bull Harbour – with just 400 people. The Tlatlasikwala First Nations people inhabited that area. The past between the original settlers and the natives had been dark and bloody. This made it challenging for Caucasians to make in-roads with the people there. My grandpa admired them for their culture and their way of life. And because of that attitude he was able to learn and connect with them. He found favor among the chief and the village there. I believe it came down to a choice for him. He knew he wasn’t going to change them, but that he had to be a mere seed in their soil.
A Life of Purpose
I have a dream. To be someone and create something both deep and wide; not big and better. To profoundly reach people. I used to spend hours planning and mapping Lego islands and ships in my room. Now I plan out other things. It’s good to imagine and build. And you’ve got to just do it. Seek excellence, and avoid perfection. We are profound creatures. Unlike the animals we can imagine and create beautiful things. Like my grandpa before me – an influencer – I want to help bring about change in the world we know. Make it a better place for everyone; not just my family. I want to connect people from around the globe and have an impact on what they do and how they think. I want to make a difference in their lives. Not for my glory, but with a desire be used for greater things
It’s About People
I’ve been been around some good, good people the last several years. They have helped shape me, ating as catalysts in my life. I think most people hestate to move because they fail to see the importance of seeking good people (the right ones) in their lives. They tend to surround themselves with people that drag them down, influence them to make poor decisions and make them feel like they’ll just amount to average. People need a boost. Ever notice that people that successful people have others around them that are doing much of the same? What actually happens is they help propel each other. If one needs strategy, resources, input or advice they guide the person and help them reach success. Elevation is key to life. When I realized I had to stop living a life like I was on an island and live a life in a flourishing community (and I took that step), big things began to happen in my life. I learned the importance of vision, focus and perseverance. They were what I needed to make my dreams happen. Our dreams aren’t meant to be bottled up, and us to watch someone else achieve them. We are here to do great things.
Have a Mountain Climbing Spirit
A big, impossible dream is like a hike up a treacherous and arduous mountain. You’ve got to get yourself excited about the journey. Bring the right gear and travel buddies if you’re to make it. You see the icy, cold summit, wind whistling over it. It seems so far away. The summit is your goal, but how do you get there? The journey through the mud, the rivers, cold and ice will take some work. And getting back up when you slip and fall won’t be easy. There will be trying and painful moments. So what do I do? I see the summit, I envision how I will get there, I focus on the task ahead and don’t let distractions get in the way. And I persevere through the cold, wet, blood, tears and pain. “I’ve come a long ways from where I once stood at the banks of that raging river I had to cross.” That river where I laid it all down and asked, “God, use me – make my life count.”