“you have some really rich friends.”
so said my friend who’d come with me to a dinner event at the free library of philadelphia. truth was, my husband and i’d given what must’ve been the lowest possible amount to gain unknowing entry to an illustrious donor group. we dined next to the architect of the library’s planned extension and yad vashem, sat across from the son of a political family, and were a table apart from a retail dynasty. a major philanthropist gamboled over us as he took his auditorium seat. i was caught between giggling at the preposterousness of my being there and feeling somewhat starry-eyed.
all this before the evening’s attraction, jim lehrer, took center stage.
he’d laid down some principles earlier—no political questions, no chat about the show—so talk focused on his new book until he laid down more principles, this time on priorities: do only what you enjoy.
[internal dialogue] uh-huh. would do—if i had a helper or doer like you must.
but he didn’t have a life wrangler of the sort i’d imagined. he had a heart attack.
up until then, he was like most of us. he accepted invitations to places he didn’t want to go. his to-do list had activities he didn’t want to complete. his day was full steam ahead with no break for replenishment. now he accepts only those invitations he’s interested in. his to-do list includes the necessary few. and he takes a daily one-hour nap, no disturbances. and he wished upon us…wisdom without the heart attack.
life truth: it’s the few who make and sustain big changes because they know they should, or even because they’re offered incentives. for the rest, big change comes only from something bigger, like a near-death experience, a newborn baby, or a close friend announcing she has cancer.
communication cold reality: your employee health and wellness communications may not make one iota’s difference until that heart attack or its equivalent. our job’s making sure the information’s ready, relevant, and reachable whenever that trigger’s pulled.