On May 31st at 12 noon I received a telephone call which I found hard to comprehend. My brother aged 49 had died whilst on a training session preparing for the London to Brighton Cycle race. At first, I simply couldn’t take it in. I drove to Colchester hospital but have absolutely no recollection of the journey. I can only apologize to any motorists I may have irritated on the way.

David was my younger brother. He was a successful business man who was, so far as we all knew, extremely healthy. He had lots of energy, was always on the go, worked extremely hard and had a fantastic social life. He played full out in everything he did

That day was to mark a dramatic change in a number of people’s lives. He left a wife and five children and three grandchildren. The youngest two from his second marriage, Harry the youngest is only ten.

He was in partnership with my sister’s husband, a rapidly expanding business which employs a number of people in four separate units. The two Daves worked well together each bringing to the business their strengths, expertise and enthusiasms.

His many friends were devastated and everyone whose life he touched feels the gap.

Why do I share this story with you? There are, I believe, a number of lessons to be learned, particularly about how you define your priorities in life and about the things which are really important.

David’s funeral was a terrible, wonderful affair. The church couldn’t hold all those who wanted to share in the celebration of his life. All through the day people came up and shared what he meant to them, how he had supported or helped them, how they valued him. The talk was about him the person and how he had connected with them. There was nothing about how much money he’d made or how many contracts he’d won.

David did work very hard and at times he worked long hours yet he always found time to connect with his family and friends. He would often send a text saying “Thinking of you” or “Luv ya”. He took time to phone and if he was busy the conversation was quick but made you feel valued.

When was the last time you took a minute or two out of your busy day to let the people you care about know? The amount of time is inconsequential; many of you can rattle off a long text in the twinkling of an eye (I still struggle with predictive text!) Yet the impact on the person receiving your loving thought is out of all proportion to the amount of time it takes.

The postmortem showed a condition that, if known about, was entirely treatable. He may very well still be with us if he had followed through the full medical screening he kept threatening to book. He was always too busy doing something else. He loved his food and enjoyed a drink. He probably could have done with loosing a few pounds but looked in the pink. How many of you keep thinking or talking about making an appointment for a health screening or to deal with that niggling health issue? How long have you put off dealing with your diet or smoking?

Have you got your priorities right?

What do you focus most of your time, energy and attention on? If all your time is spent working you may rationalize that you are doing so to provide for your loved ones who are your most important priority.

Ask yourself what memories your partner or your children will have if you were no longer with them? Would they be able to think back to shared time, laughter and experiences?

Would your epitaph read “He worked incredibly hard”?

Lesson Number 1

Make the most of every day.

If living life to the full is the priority what your ideal life contains? What would it look, sound and feel like?

Is the balance between your working and your personal life right?

If you aren’t living your perfect life what are you doing to change it?

Lesson Number 2

It is relationships which really count

What are the significant relationships in your life? Are they satisfying? What can you do to ensure that you have fulfilling, loving relationships?

If you have a relationship which is less than you would like or you have no one special in your life what are you doing about it?

Lesson Number 3

Tell those you care about that you do, and do it often!
Thank those who help and support you how much you appreciate them and do it often!

All too often we assume others know that we appreciate them but don’t underestimate how powerful it is to hear that you are loved or valued. It doesn’t have to take long but it can make a huge difference.

Text, phone, email put a note where you know the other person will find it or, even better, tell them face to face.

Lesson Number 4

Your health is priceless

Without your health you run out of options. Take full responsibility for your health and get yourself checked out. If you need to change your lifestyle – diet, exercise, reduce drinking or give up smoking get some help.

Lesson Number 5

The choice is yours

Whatever you do or say, or not, is your choice. Deciding not to make a choice is your choice. How you live this life is up to you. Of course, some choices are more difficult than others and what most of us do is stick with more of the same as it is easier to deal with the status quo rather than the uncertainty of change. Life has the habit of teaching us lessons often the hard way. You can, of course, choose to learn the lessons which other people’s lives offer to us.

What are you going to choose?


Author's Bio: 

Gina Gardiner is one of the UK's leading Leadership Coaches.
Gina supports people at individual or organizational level to develop confidence, leadership and people skills. Gina is the author of two books “Kick Start Your Career” and “How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively and is also a Neuro Linguistic Master Practitioner and a qualified coach.
To download her free management ecourse...http://graduatesolutions.co.uk