What’s his name again?
BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - December 29, 2019 - 12:00am

Now that the Christmas tree is about to be neatly kept and stored in the warehouse only to be taken out again next year; it made me reflect on life lessons learned over the years.

Every time we put up a Christmas tree in the house, I would be reminded of a lesson I taught my family many years ago. I was the top honcho of a very famous garment brand and managing a work force of hundreds of people then. My kids noticed that there were so many gifts that were gathered under the tree, which many of them came from suppliers. On Christmas day, we were gathered around the Christmas tree ready to open the gifts, I thought that this would be a good moment for me to teach a lesson.

I said, “Kids, your mommy and I have gifts for you and though they may not be expensive like the rest of the other gifts given to dad, they come from the heart. Our gifts for you are given with love in our hearts. These gifts were given to dad by business associates, partners and suppliers. They are called “business gifts.” I don’t think they gave me the gifts because they love me, but I am pretty sure they gave me gifts because they love doing business with me. The day will come when I will be gone from this business and those gifts will no longer come because there is a difference between “love” gifts and “business” gifts.” True enough the day I left the industry the calls disappeared, the visits and meetings vanished, and the gifts discontinued.

When we are in positions of authority, we need to have our feet grounded and realize that the powerful name we carry today would one day degenerate into “Hey, what’s his (her) name again?”

Many years ago, the story was that US Secretary of the Interior, Donald P. Hodel, remarked about the obscurity of former Cabinet members. As a member of President Reagan's Cabinet, he reminded his department heads not to be enamored with their titles. He pointed out that no one remembers former Secretaries – much less important department heads. He quipped, “Some people working in the bowels of this department don't even remember who the former Secretaries were!”

But when one is in a position of power, the ability to control people, make big decisions, change the course of history and the most evident display of this in which men seek power is evident in the political arena. Yet, as intensely as men lust for power in elective office, the pursuit of significance through power equally tempts business, labor, military and religious leaders.

Just think about this: there is the thrill of closing the big deal, sell a product, the power to allocate massive resources to a project, or the ability to persuade a prospect to buy your product over your competitors and many other accomplishments are so intoxicating and given the aura of power. We can begin to believe we have special abilities like some super-heroes that mere mortals are not endowed with!

TV talk show hosts call them “visionaries.” The academic community call them “geniuses.” Society matrons’ gossip about them, the business community salute them and envy them at the same time so how can all these things not give the illusion of grandeur and greatness?  Just one thing to realize is that all these one day would come to an end. Age catches up; retirement comes; muscles ache, joints hurt, and sickness becomes familiar. This changes the whole dynamics.

A retired man said, "We come into this world as babies, and that's the way we go out. I used to be able to pick up the phone and talk to anybody I wanted to. Enjoy your power while you can, because once you retire, they don't return your calls anymore.” Even celebrities and personalities will be forgotten. And the question now turns to: “What’s his name again?”

This is why while we are far from retirement and are still moving about, it would be best to expend our energy, time and influence towards doing good and being good. From basking in success, we leverage it into moving into a life of significance. When we embark on tasks designed to benefit others, a sense that what we are doing is important grows within us and if we make helping others our practice, a state of significance results.

Someone once said that the test of significance comes in answering this question: “Does what I am about to do contribute to the welfare of others in a demonstration of faith, love, obedience, and service to Christ?” If we live our lives in this way, then the ego and the self-aggrandizement give way to a sense of care, love and kindness to those we can influence and lead. Using power and influence to serve and do good. There is a term for this, and it is called “Servant Leadership.”

The promise of Scripture is that a life given to Christ and living His commands grant us a life of fulness and meaning. And here is the blessing, the promise is that He will know us by name whether in this life or in the one beyond this one and you will never hear Him say, “What’s his name again!” Let this thought guide us as we journey through both the opportunities as well as the challenges of the New Year.

A Blessed New Year to you all!

(Reserve the dates: Jan. 29-30. Attend the highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership Seminar and Workshop 2020 edition. Learn inspiring leadership lessons and valuable life skills in this widely acclaimed program at Seda Hotel, BGC. For further inquiries or advanced reservations contact April at +63928-559-1798 or register online at www.levelupleadership.ph)



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