Turbo Leadership Systems

Phone: (503) 625-1867 • Fax: (503) 625-2699 • email: admin@turbols.com
Issue 73 To our clients and friends January 3, 2006
When Do We Graduate?
Larry W. Dennis, Sr.
Turbo Leadership

Create a lasting impression; go the extra mile!

On a recent trip back to the little town I grew up in, Ypsilanti, Michigan, some of my classmates who still live in the area put together a spontaneous “class reunion” for me. My class has had two official class reunions in the last few years (including our most recent 45th reunion this past summer) that I haven’t been able to attend. We had a wonderful evening of getting reacquainted. The truth is we were no longer acquainted even though we have some bedrock, common ground to refer back to. There were two women who I had dated a little, one fellow who I was in the same homeroom with during most of our high school years, and others who I knew then that I couldn’t recognize now, and some who I had a hard time remembering.

One of my classmates, Dane Dixon, wasn’t able to join us that evening. I had shared classes with him, including homeroom from the seventh grade on. Dane called to say he wanted to connect if possible, so we arranged a one-on-one lunch. I recognized Dane the minute he walked in. We had a wonderful couple of hours visiting, learning a bit about each other’s lives over the last four decades, our families and lives in general. Dane went into banking and retired as a senior bank executive a few years ago.

As we were wrapping up our visit, both expressing how important and meaningful it was to reconnect, Dane said, “Larry, there’s one more thing I want to mention to you. You know, when we were in high school, I had a ’49 Ford convertible.” “Yeah, I

remember that car.” Dane said, “I don’t know if you remember it or not, but my water pump went out and I couldn’t get it off. I mentioned it to you and that night when I got home from basketball practice, you’d been over, gotten into the garage, taken the water pump off and it was sitting up on my dad’s workbench. Do you remember that?” “I wouldn’t have remembered it if you had not mentioned it.” It’s very vague in my memory. Dane remembered it, and sharing the story made a huge impact on me.

What I learned from hearing this story is there are no isolated incidents in my life. When I busily engage myself in service, I could be creating an impression, a rippling affect, a value that extends well beyond today. I’m glad I took an hour after work to take that water pump off. I am sure I’ve missed many opportunities in the ensuing years to be of service.

What Dane is challenging us to do is recognize we can’t do everything, we can do something and what we can do, we ought to do. When we act in service, we are setting into motion the continuing creation of our character, who we are and who we are becoming. Dane remembers me for a lot of things, I am sure, but the one thing he remembers me most for is that act, that single, extra mile, unselfish act. Somehow that act has my signature on it, which represents to Dane who I am. I’m glad for that. Put your signature on one extra mile act of kindness today and you will change two lives.