No, this is not wedding announcement. But a hint of what each of us can be. Superman (and his lesser known cousin) can exist in each of us. (I’m NOT going to get into which one you want to pick. I am just NOT going to go there!)
Well, since this column is related to the Seven Habits, what do I mean? Think about it for a moment. Other then the super powers, what is the most notable characteristic of super heros?
Try a little harder …
One word. Two syllables. Seven characters. Not much ink on a standard piece of notebook paper, even with how large _I_ write. One word, but so-o-o-o much meaning.
Purpose gives meaning to life. Purpose gives direction. Purpose provides motivation. Purpose is POWER. Think about a powerful person you know, not necessarily in a political or monitary sense. Powerful people create change in society. They are people with a personal vision and mission.
Psstt! (whispering) You want to know a secret? … Come over here…. (talking conspiratorially) We all can have it. Yep. All of us.
What does it take? Not much and a lot. The not much is what you already have: A brain, a body (healthy or not, hmm, probably could say that about the brain, too), an imagination, and dreams. The a lot is also what you already have: drive, determination, and the REST OF YOUR LIFE!
How do you get started? Easy – start dreaming. Decide what is important to you. Plan for it to come true. And execute, execute, execute!
In other words, Habit #2: Begin with the End in Mind, and Habit #3: Put First Things First.
You practiced Habit #1: Be Proactive when you decided to take that power for yourself.
Another little secret: No one has the power to take it from you!
If you decide to be a superman or superwoman, there is no Kryptonite except yourself. No one can take it from you, unless you let them. Hmm… That means … if you have a purpose in life, and you are proactive, no one CAN stop you. Unless you let them.
Guess what? You have just become an unstoppable force in the world.
Wow! We just gained a second power! Maybe invulnerablity is not to far off…
Consider the story of someone who had a major impact in my life. A man with a purpose in life, who not only make a difference in life, but make a difference in how he died.
When I first met Coach Delserone, it was in an art class. Little did I know how important this man was to become. Coach Delserone was a good sized man. He was very much like the football players he coached. Big, strong, quick on his feet. He also had a heart, a mind and a powerful mission.
Over the years, I went from Jr. High School to High School and I saw him everyday in my art classes. Im not an artist, but he never let that stop me. He encouraged the meager artistic talents I had and praised me when I was able to do something that exceeded my limits and grew, no matter how small it was.
He was the same way on the football field. He never referred to the team as “the team”, but “my boys”. He helped the football players who were in trouble. He never had an ill word for anyone. He was an inspiration to us all, in quiet ways. We celebrated with him when he had his first child. His son. You could see the family values he had for “his boys” , were there in his home life. The football team adopted Coach Delserone’s son, as if he was one of them.
Time passed, Coach Delserone’s son was two years old. We were all struck by a terrible blow – Coach Delserone was diagnosed with Lou Gering’s Disease. This is a terrible wasting disease that slowly destroys your voluntary nervous system, and continues into your involuntary system, leaving your central nervous system intact, until one day everything shuts down. Your body slowly betrays you, and you are fully aware of what is happening to you. A terrible disease.
Coach Delserone was diagnosed at having about 6 – 12 months to live. We were all in shock.
Coach Delserone always told “his boys”, his son, his friends, and his students, “Never Give Up.” That had always been his motto. This is important.
I graduated and went on to college, but I stayed in touch with another teacher who was Coach Delserone’s friend. I later learned, that he lived on for several years. Even when he was forced to live in a wheelchair, he kept coaching. Even when he did not have the strength to lift his hand to shake yours on greeting, his eyes never lost their fire. He became an inspiration to us.
In his last year of coaching, his football team played against Hubbard, our biggest rival and State Championship contender. In the week before the game, the school almost held its breath. There were no banners, there were no slogans, just one phrase was almost whispered: “Win it for _him_.” When our team entered the field, it was in almost silence. No one expected us to win.
Hubbard never knew what hit them! Because one man had a mission in life to help others, this team with no chance to win, but a meaningful purpose, literally slaughtered a team that should have run right over them.
I could go on from here, but this man, with only voluntary control of his eyelids, with the help of his wife, wrote a book.
When I got word that he had died, I cried. I still almost do, whenever I think of it. Some in sadness, because the world lost a man I would call a saint. But mostly in awe and inspiration of what can be done in life, if you never let the fire go out.
Find your purpose, and make a difference. Be “super“.
NB: Special Thanks to Carolyn Hennings for editing assistance, especially on such an emotional issue for me.