I remember a former chairman of mine, Jeff Carter, telling me that, no matter how important an appointment or deadline was, it could always be delayed if one had to attend a funeral. As I get older, I now find myself attending more funerals and Jeff’s words are so true. I have also been told so often that no one ever got to the end of his/her life saying, “I wish I’d put in more time at the office.” I nodded but never really took it in.

A week ago today, I received an e-mail, apparently from a good friend, Ron Grant. When I opened the mail it turned out to be from his niece to tell me that Ron had died the day before. I spoke to Ron’s wife, Alex, later that day and she told me that he had suffered a massive heart attack after gardening.

Ron was one of the greatest men I ever met but no one will buld a statue to him or write his biography. He trained me as a trainer many years ago and we became firm friends. I considered myself honoured that Ron chose me to be his friend. At his funeral on Friday it was clear how many peoples’ lives he had touched, all positively, and how much he was loved. I just wish I’d spent more time with him.

Recently someone sent me the following:

Name the 5 richest people in the world.
Name the last 5 Miss Universe winners.
Name the last 10 Nobel Prize winners.
Name the last 10 winners of the Best Actor Oscar.

Difficult isn’t it? Applause dies away; trophies gather dust; winners are soon forgotten.

Now name 3 teachers who contributed to your education.
Name 3 friends who helped you in your hour of need.
Think of a few people who make you feel special.
Name the people you like to spend time with.

I’ll bet that was easier.

I hope that if any good comes out of Ron’s passing it will be that I will finally accept that, while I enjoy my work and like running my business, family and friends are much more important and I’m going to devote more time to them. I suspect that my business will benefit too.

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