In the sermon I heard on Sunday morning, there was a lot of talk about going back in time to live our lives differently. I was moved by some of these ideas and thought to myself. “Would I have done anything differently?” The more I thought about it, the more I thought that I would do some things differently.
For instance, I probably would have been a little more respectful of other people. I probably would have tried to be a better student. And there are maybe a few other things I would have done differently.
As I sit here this evening trying to get my thoughts on paper, I am thinking that I know myself pretty well, and given a second opportunity, I probably would do the exact same things over again.
All of this talk about going back in time and changing how you lived your life made me think of this poem by the great Native American warrior, Tecumseh. It was made famous as the ending to the movie “Act of Valor”. I felt like it fits because he implored those that followed him that they should live well. He knew that they wouldn’t get a second chance.
“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about their religion; respect the views of others and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life, and beautify all things in your life.
Seek to make your life long, and its purpose; the service of your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day you go over the great divide.
Always give a kind word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,
even a stranger when in a lonely place.
Show respect to all people and never grovel to anyone.
When you rise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault only lies in your heart.
Abuse no one or no thing, for abuse turns the wise to the foolish and robs the spirit of its wisdom.
When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death,
so that when their time comes, they weep and beg for a little more time to live their life differently.
Sing your death song and blow your trumpet loudly, and die like a hero going home.”
So where is the leadership lesson here?
Well, I hope that comes out in the discussion and comments below. But what it means to me is this; I don’t think you should ever let an opportunity to lead pass you by. I’m not talking about correction or instruction because these are two things that often get mistaken for leadership. I’m talking about never miss an opportunity to help someone who could never repay you. I’m talking about show someone respect that you may or may not know.
There is an old saying You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”. I think that holds true for life as well. You won’t get a second chance to live your life better, when it is time to sing your death song, hold your head high and don’t have any regrets.
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