This was in the Weekend Wrap-Up but not everyone reads that so I thought I'd post it here.
I've had kind of a nostalgic week. Friday my boss retired. He was an excellent boss and as so often happens in the military, he wasn't there as long as we would have liked. But I learned so much from him even at my age! He was an exceptional leader and I respect him greatly.
As many of you know, I was in the Navy for 30 years and witnessed many retirement ceremonies but this was the first Army retirement I'd seen. And I have to say it was much more moving than any other I'd seen.
This is not pertinent to the subject but the part that moved me the most was when the young Soldiers presented the flag. They ceremoniously unfolded it to show it in his full view, then refolded it perfectly for presentation. While the Soldiers were performing this, the MC read "Old Glory". I encourage you to read this poem if you're an American...and I also recommend you have tissues around.
My boss told us his philosophy, his creed, the first day he reported and that is what has stuck even amongst all his other great leadership traits. This is his creed and what he embodies:
- Treat others with respect
- Treat yourself with respect
- Take responsibility
Seems pretty simple doesn't it? But look at each of the components and see how your life stacks up against them.
Even though I had heard them two years ago, this was a terrific reminder for me - not only to see how well I was doing living up to them but also to think about what my own personal creed is. What do I live by? What do I believe? Do I jump from one behavior to another or do I stick to the straight and narrow (as I have defined it - we each define our creed in the way that fits our lives).
Does my boss's philosophy work for you? It sure should because it encompasses everything we need to take care of others in this world. If you're in a service profession, you know that that's what life is all about. And you know what? Almost every single profession is a service profession since in order to have any income, you have to provide a service..even if that service is to deliver a product.
Take stock of your life. What would your retirement ceremony be like? Who would speak at it? What would that person say about you? What types of remembrances would you want at the ceremony (they showed a video with photos of my boss all throughout various stages of his career. Interspersed were videos from people whom he had influenced in his life and who were far away. Each one said thank you and told him how much he had taught them - it was extremely touching).
You've heard people recommend you write your own obituary. Well, although I think that's a good idea too,designing your retirement ceremony is a great way to reflect upon your life and then you can also see if there's anything about your life you'd like to change in the next phase of your life (even if it's an arbitrary line you draw). In the imaginative world, you can retire at any time you want and begin another "profession/job"- meaning starting a new phase of your life.
Think about it and figure out who you'd invite, when you want to have the ceremony, and what will be said - not only by you but by the guest speakers you invite.
Write it out and keep it. Refine it as you go along.
Try it and see what happens. What do you have to lose?