The Back Story: An Inspirational Epiphany
In June 2013, I first heard the phrase “the dash” listening to the 6:00 a.m. radio program of the Steve Harvey Morning Show. On a particular morning, I was preparing to drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to a small town called Onley, Virginia on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The morning was beautiful and the sun was starting to rise as a backdrop to the expansive marvel and wonder of the Bay Bridge Tunnel.
Because the bay bridge tunnel was over twenty miles long surrounded by water, I always approached crossing it with a bit of trepidation. So, I turned the radio up so that I could hear and focus on Steve’s early morning message and not the long drive across the Chesapeake Bay.
I was inspired by Steve’s words when he said words to the effect in referring to his “dash” in life, saying …even with all that he has accomplished so far, he is not done or finished yet. That…he wanted to be and create an imprint of his successes so deep and indelible in life, so that long after he has passed on, he will be remembered for the ages. And, it was at that moment, I had an epiphany, and realized that destiny had fallen in place and that what Steve Harvey had described and defined through his inspirational words and articulation was meaning and purpose for the term The Consummate Transitioner.
We are all well aware of the tremendous gaffe or mistake by Steve Harvey on December 21, 2015, on the world stage, when he crowned the wrong Miss Universe, a mistake seen by millions in a public forum around the world. I felt very badly for him after all that he had accomplished for this to happen. And, to be honest, my initial thought was to remove the story, though true, that I just mentioned above for a brief second, because I did not want to be associated with such a terrible situation and fodder for parody. I realized that I would not have been a true fan and supporter by not supporting him in a “valley of his life.” It is easy to support people when they are up, but they need you when they are down.
As I was watching the gaffe on television, I thought of a circumstance that happened in my own life, when I was a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy at a training exercise at Camp Dawson, West Virginia, in 1996. We had completed a successful training exercise, and I was to provide an out-brief the next morning. I had been up most of the night, and the bottom line is when I got up to speak, my mind went blank and nothing would come out. I just stood there for what seemed like eternity and nothing would come out of my mouth. Finally, I sat down humiliated and embarrassed in front of my peers and it seemed that all that we had accomplished during the training meant nothing. After the event, I sat there numb, when an old, sage Marine Corps Colonel came up to me and said words to this day that I will never forget and have subsequently provided as advice and counseling to friends, peers, and cohorts. He said, “what happened to you, happens to the best of us, but remember one thing when you are speaking in public that you are always in charge of your audience. So step back and take a deep breath, take a moment, regroup. Do what you need to do. You are in charge of your audience.”
I humbly thanked him for his advice and made no excuses for my incompetence. From that experience, I stepped back and took inventory of myself and my life, what was important, and what I should have learned from this very humbling situation. I remembered a saying from my father when he would say “always remain humble, for the haughty spirit comes just before a fall,” derivative of the scripture Proverb 16:18.
Sometimes in life, you have to take a step back in order to go forward. A few years later, I retired from the Navy and went on to have a second career, where my livelihood was dependent upon public speaking; where I have probably conducted some 500 speaking engagements, when I thought that would be the last thing that I would do. Quoting Dr. Alex Pattakos, “We don’t create meaning; we find it. And we can’t find it unless we look for it. Although we are not always aware of it, meaning is present in every moment, even in what may be viewed as the darkest hours of our lives.” So, today and for the future, I wait with positive anticipation and support to see where Steve Harvey will go from here. To me, he has so much more good work to do…so much more to give to positively impact humanity.
And, this takes me to the sixth, final, and most important tenant of becoming The Consummate Transitioner, which is understanding the art of humility1… that in life, sometimes we are where we need to be, to see what we need to see, to help us truthfully find direction for the future. Arrogance and pride will blind us, but humility will keep you grounded to have the clear vision to accomplish and complete our destiny.
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- “The art of humility,” author uknown. ↩