If you are familiar with the book Tuesdays with Morrie, you know that completing the book is only the beginning of the journey. Since completing Mitch Albom’s book, I have been amazed at how him sharing Morrie’s life lessons created a community of people who will likely never meet. Tuesdays are now meaningful in ways I can’t yet explain. Good morning texts are followed by “Happy Tuesday” because we are #TuesdayPeople. Tuesday never feels lonely.
While thinking over this, I began to also think about how Franklin Roosevelt would do his fireside chats during his presidency, something I always assumed was a weekly occurrence. This image has always been in my mind of an entire nation gathering around the radio every week to listen to one man’s voice for an update on what was going on in their country, but that wasn’t the case at all. In fact, Roosevelt delivered just 31 fireside chats during his 4,422-day presidency. So, how are Roosevelt’s fireside chats connected with Mitch Albom’s Tuesday with Morrie? Well, I’m glad you asked.
I have this belief that anyone can be a leader. Seems simple, right? A leader doesn’t have to be the CEO of Apple, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, or President of The United States. A leader just has to be someone who helps others walk away, being proud of who they are. As much as I appreciate Tuesdays with Morrie, I think Morrie and Mitch knew it would never be about the book; it’s about the reader connecting with the shared stories. As much as I’m sure the nation appreciated the fireside chats, it wasn’t about the information that was shared; it was about every listener feeling like Roosevelt was speaking directly to them.
With only 3 classes left in my master’s program, I began to reflect on if I had grown as a leader. I’ve learned how to create a business, what the difference between an entrepreneur and an intrapreneur is, and how difficult financing is. I’ve put a lot of what I have learned on my blog posts, encouraging everyone who reads that they can be leaders. So, for those who have been following along, I hope you know that you can, in fact, be a leader. However, I think it’s my time to be a leader as well. I am no Mitch Albom, Morrie Schwartz, or FDR… just Colin. For this 8-week graduate course, I will be posting every Sunday. I hope you will enjoy the first part of the series, “Sundays with You.”
September 14th, 1997. Fred Rogers took the stage to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award. Fred Rogers began, “Thank you. Thank you. Oh, it’s a beautiful night in this neighborhood. So many people have helped me to come to this night. Some of you are here, some are far away, some are even in Heaven. All of us have special ones who have loved us into being.” I want to present the same question Mr. Rogers offered to everyone attending the Emmys that night.
I want everyone to take ten seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are. Those individuals who have cared for/about you and genuinely wanted the best for you. Ten seconds of silence to just think. In typical Mr. Rogers fashion, I’ll watch the time.
Now, I want to present you with a few questions about those ten seconds. How did you feel during the 10 seconds compared to before? How do you feel now? Why do you think those individuals were the ones you first thought of? Do you want the best for you?
I think this simple activity is so powerful. Mostly because I don’t believe happiness is an accomplishment we can have on our own. Happiness is like a leaky tire. You can’t just put air in it and expect it to stay up. Happiness requires hard work, and yes you must put that work in, it makes it a lot easier when you have others who play a role in your happiness.
I often see leaders prompt questions that force individuals to identify what they are doing for themselves. This can be an excellent exercise for many, but not necessarily all. Life can be difficult, days can be difficult, what you go through can be difficult. What I hope you will take away from this post is that it only takes ten seconds to remind yourself that you are not alone. If, after those ten seconds, you still felt alone, reach out to me, and I would love to speak more. If you had specific people who came to mind during those ten seconds, feel free to leave a comment below and share why they came to mind. Sometimes, all it takes is someone else sharing their story to get others thinking as well.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the first part of this series, and I can’t wait to see where this takes us. I’m not sure what we will talk about next week, but maybe that will be part of what makes this series special. As for this week, I’m so glad I got to spend this Sunday with You.
-Colin Lane Croat