The Final Chapter

My father was in the hospital recently for treatment for a hemorrhagic stroke due to a rare condition he has. Fortunately, the stroke did not cause any permanent damage, only a temporary 80% loss of vision in one eye. While his vision is slowly coming back, he is frustrated (understandably) dealing with what he can’t do as well as he used to. The condition that is causing the strokes has no treatment or cure. It will probably kill him, although there is no timetable attached to that prognosis.

During one of his frustrating moments, I spoke to him about where he is in the timeline of life. In truth, he is writing the final chapter of his life. It may last ten more years or it may last only 30 more days. I asked him how he wanted that chapter written. Will it be written with fear and anxiety, or courage and hope?  It’s his choice. It is also a choice every one of us make everyday.

As leaders, we are faced with countless choices. Some are fairly innocuous and don’t have a lot of down side. Others are high-stakes kinds of decisions. We are writing into our leadership legacy, the future plot line that will play out. Will it be full of adventure, excitement, and vision? Will it be full of strife and conflict? It is your choice as you are the author.

This tends to be a subject we don’t want to think about, but the reality is that we all come to an end. For some of us, that end is sooner than others. We don’t know when it will come, but it will come. A sobering thought to be sure, but it puts into perspective the decisions we make each day. To help all of us write our story well each day, here are some questions to ponder:

  • How will you encourage your spouse, children, or co-workers today?
  • What decisions will you make today that will set someone else up for success?
  • What specifically will you do today to empower someone to get closer to achieving their dreams?
  • How will you personally turn a negative conversation into a positive one?
  • If today presented the last opportunity to speak to someone with whom you are having conflict, what would you need to say to them?
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