I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone from the beginning…to the end.
He noted that first came the date of birth
and spoke the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them know what that little line is worth.
(from the poem “The Dash” by Linda Ellis)
Last week I was having breakfast with my colleague. It was a feedback session (360 degrees). After all, feedback is the breakfast of champions. At that moment, I was reflecting on all the feedback I have received over the past 1 year. Am I living my dash? Is feedback helping me to become the next version of myself?
On the 23rd July Sunday, I had the opportunity of becoming the leader of an in-group TILT (The India Leadership Think-tank). Ian talked about the three phases in which we need to evaluate ourselves (and in this order) and create an impact:
Self and Family-> Colleagues and Friends->Society and Nation
When I looked at my “ self ” from the past 1 year, I understood that people and books had an extraordinary impact on me. A special mention to Ian Faria and Kavitha – Sandhya team from Talk temple, Tom Bileyu’s podcasts and Impact theory. Some of the books that had made an impact were “Leaders eat Last” by Simon Sinek, “Triggers” by Marshall Goldsmith and “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel. “Own your story” says Tom . To me the development of self is about re-imagining myself for the person I need to become for the goals I need to achieve.
On the “family” side, it was about feedback from my elder daughter and wife that had a profound impact on me. No wonder when I saw “Fast and Furious 8”, the only thing that lingered in my mind was this line “You never turn your back on family.” Do you make your bed? Do you pick up after yourself? I started doing it after I got a feedback from my wife “There is somebody to pick it up”. The feedback from my daughter came in the way of improving trust between us. Understanding a teenage daughter being brought up in a “Insta” world needs a different wiring and I am getting used to this new re-wiring.
“Colleagues” create my professional impact and It was a great trans-formative experience with all my leadership team , colleagues and partners. It was a great feeling when I shared the stage with my team when they achieved their targets and I recollected my first post coming true in front of my eyes which was about how leaders need to see people through.
With “friends” , we have fun. I had a great time with all my school and engineering mates 3HOT friends and toastmaster friends. Feedback from friends made me realise that i need to improve on my connect and likability quotients. That feedback made me very much cognizant and I have decided to take it seriously till I make it. Colleagues and friends form a very vital part of the life equilibrium and I always feel refreshed when I am with them.
Level 3 is still a work in progress.
Re- imagining Self, Re-wiring with Family, Re-freshing with colleagues & friends was how I lived my dash the past one year.
Living your dash is about making every moment count and being aware of those moments. In my view, the meaning you can bring into your life is by defining your dash and then Re-imagining, Rewiring and Refreshing yourselves in ways that bring out the best in you because never let your past be bigger than your future.