The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
This week I’m sending out a day early. Each All Saints Day, I try to use the same story as a basis for my Weekly Update.
Unfortunately, I’ve lost 2 of my closest friends to cancer. One of these friends, Mike Neuner, passed away on All Saints Day, Nov 1st, 1991. He was the most fanatic UCF Grad I ever met…actually, prior to meeting him, Mike was the only UCF Grad I had ever met!!! Mike was my roommate as a 2nd Lt. when I was stationed at Hanscom Air Force Base in Boston and prior to getting married. Mike was the only non-family member in my wedding and even spent two days in Hawaii (stayed in the same hotel room) with my wife and me while on our honeymoon. This should tell you a little about how both my wife and I felt about Mike. How many new wives would welcome a buddy into their Honeymoon Suite?
If you knew Mike, you’d agree that his passing on All Saints Day was very appropriate. Webster’s says a Saint is “a person who is admired or venerated because of their virtue”. While I can’t say that Mike was always a Saint from a religious perspective, I can absolutely say that Mike was admired by many. I think he has over a dozen friends from that time who named one of their kids in his honor. There are also dozens of us who try to visit Mike’s grave at Arlington Cemetery every few years. Each time one of us makes this visit, the pictures and stories are shared with the group on Facebook. And, there are literally hundreds of us who after over 25 years, still share stories and fond memories of Mike on the Anniversary of his death. It is amazing to see how this humble guy from UCF has lived thru others for so long.
Mike lived life to the fullest and never seemed to be down. He had lots of friends (as a young bachelor, he was a hard guy to keep up with but I did my best!). Since his death and thru 6 different moves, I have always had Mike’s favorite poem hung in my bedroom and it is one of the last things I see each morning before heading to work.
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, gifts, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. We have a choice every day regarding attitude. We cannot change our past or the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens and 90% how I react. And, so it is with you. We are all in charge of our attitudes.
Living in a growth company is not always easy. It involves discomfort and challenge, but that’s all part of the joy and the heartbreak of this Journey. Mike would say that if we start this journey with an optimistic mindset, we have accomplished 90% of the battle. It is a simple difference in outlook, but this difference typically makes a profound impact on the final results.
Our success at Pinnacle will not come from always having things go our way. I actually believe it’s the opposite. Whether a company or an individual, it’s more about how you handle failures, bad breaks, and the tough stuff. That’s what Mike really understood and it’s why I believe his spirit shines so strongly over 25 years after his passing. No matter what happened, you could not keep that dude down. His resilience, perseverance, and his attitude about life was amazing. After Mike’s passing, I set a goal that if I can only just be half as good as Mike in this area, then I will be pretty damn happy. That’s one of the reasons I’ve hung his poem in my bedroom, so I can be reminded daily.
To my buddy Mike. And, to all of you and the next time you get knocked down. Maybe, the thought of Mike will give you the inspiration to get back up one more time!
Have a great week!
I’m no Saint, but I’m trying