Lessons From My Brother

Lessons From My Brother


We buried my brother last week.  We tend to become reflective when things like this happen and, among other things, I’ve been thinking about my fellow entrepreneurs.

My brother John was a husband, father of four, family man, veteran and a Christian. It was only two weeks from his diagnosis to his passing. The cancer started in his lungs and moved rapidly to other parts of his body.

As I reflect on his life and passing, several thoughts come to mind for entrepreneurs:

  1. If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it. We must constantly measure our business performance and our own health and attitude. Sometimes we fear the truth about how our business is actually performing and how we are doing as humans.  By the time my brother sought testing and diagnosis, his treatment options were limited.  Overcome the fear, measure, manage.
  2. Make spiritual, physical and mental fitness a priority. No matter how busy we are as entrepreneurs, we must eat well, exercise daily, get enough rest, schedule regular medical checkups and make time each day for a few minutes of peace.  These things are no less important than the most important meetings of the day. Schedule and execute like you do with everything else.  As counter intuitive as it may seem to make time for these things when we are so busy, fitness in these areas allows us to sustain our hectic pace. Think of it as inflight refueling.
  3. Nurture your relationships. Personal communication, via phone or a hand written note, helps us sustain our most important relationships. I know it’s old school but emails and texts just aren’t as personal.  Plan time each week to take a few minutes and think of folks, in both your business and personal life, that you know could use a kind word, a thank you, or with whom you haven’t communicated in some time. Set aside time to make the call or write a note.  Again, just like planning a meeting.  I am always amazed at how much good comes out of this activity. The people with whom we communicate will be thankful and appreciative, and I always feel better knowing I’ve served others in some small way. Our family has not always done a good job of this. My brother’s passing has caused us to recommit to family unity.  That will be his legacy.

The words below are spoken as the military honor guard presents the U.S. flag to the next of kin.

“On behalf of the President of the United States, a grateful nation and the United States Army as a token of appreciation for your loved one’s honorable and faithful service”

I love you John. Thank you for your service to family and country.  Your legacy lives on.