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The pinnacle moment in the Broadway musical Showboat is the singing of these famous lyrics: Old Man River, he just keeps rolling along.
Two weeks ago, I spent some time along the West bank of Old Man River – the mighty Mississippi in St. Louis, Missouri. I’ve been to the trickling headwaters in Northern Minnesota, and today we live within ten miles of where it splits Minneapolis and St. Paul. The further downstream, the more memorable. One of America’s most admired banks invited me to St. Louis, to speak at their leadership conference.
St. Louis isn’t a typical leadership conference destination. That’s why we were so impressed by the awesome sight of the St. Louis Arch, situated next to Old Man River. We all marveled at the vision and foresight of the leaders who invested in the arch as a symbol of “the Gateway to the West.” The arch is one of the few man made structures I’ve encountered that fills me with child-like wonder.
Wednesday evening, three of us paused in awe of the constant flow of the Mississippi. We noticed a modern day Showboat and a river barge sharing the same water space. We wondered aloud: “how many years have Showboats and barges shared the same water space on the mighty Mississippi?” Old Man River, he just keeps rolling along.
Thursday was a mountain top day; hundreds of senior executives learned to embrace and celebrate the Seven Fs! We shared a great passion for the blending of personal and professional leadership. It was the kind of day that affirms why I do this work.
Sadly, Friday morning I took the early flight home to attend the funeral for a college classmate. He passed at the amazingly young age of 49 (my age). The church was overflowing with a community of people who appreciated his faithful service as a coach and youth mentor. The service left me profoundly sad, angry about the injustice and motivated to seize the day.
Saturday morning I couldn’t shake the image of Old Man River. My college classmate and the Bankers were living for the same reason: both flowing through the lives of people, determined to make a difference.
The family and friends of Joel Koch will miss him for the rest of their lives. He made a difference. Meanwhile Old Man River just keeps rolling along. Lets all remember that each of us has the opportunity to advance our faith, family, finances, fitness, friends, fun and future today. Seize the day.
Good leaders see each day as an opportunity to increase the goodness in our world…so that their efforts downstream are memorable.
Drop me a note: What is your relationship with Old Man River, and what keeps you rolling along?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]