Rudy Guliani’s book on Leadership has a chapter that I appreciated. It’s called “Weddings are Discretionary, Funerals Mandatory.” The long and the short of it is everyone loves to attend a wedding. What’s hard and much more nobel is to show up when it’s uncomfortable, awkward and when we have no idea what to say or do. That’s usualy when our friends need us most.
At my mother’s funeral, there were friends who I knew would show up. There were those that surprised me when they showed up and there were those friends that couldn’t be bothered to say a kind word in the days surrounding. That’s a macrocosm of life right there.
Going into this 3rd week of self-imposed quasi-removal from the social-mediasphere, I have had an awareness or three. With due respect to Coach Wooden, I have styled this awareness on his famous pyramid.
At the bottom of the pyramid are the groups of people I should just get around to unfriending. The first group of people are the “Oh You’re Drunk Again, how lovely”. They are close relatives to the “I thought you were interesting, but I was wrong”. Let’s not forget those ever hateful “Negative Nellies” and close out the group with “the Fails”. I could describe these groups in further detail, but why bother.
In the next level up the pyramid are those with tweeps with common interest. These include Yankees fans, New York Islanders fans, runners and those who live in New York. The New Yorkers list includes people within 50 miles of Long Island with some parts of Connecticut and New Jersey included. The interest in these sports folks tends to come and go with the season. The New Yorkers are great around major weather events, holidays, weekends and for letting me know if Saturday Night Live is worth watching or not.
The next layer of the pyramid are the funny, wise, spiritual, and the informative.
Next on the pyramid are “The Centrals”. These are the people who I always want to hear what they have to say, see the (clean) pictures they want to post and generally enjoy throughout the day. These are the ones who have risen to the top. A select group tops the pyramid. These tweeps are that I have shared a meal or a sporting event with.
In the last few days, I have come to realize that just above the Central group, there is another group I have just named special. Special are those few among the hundreds who reach out to me when I have a great day and reach out and support me when I am down. They are the ones that show up for me, even when I don’t expect it.
While running the other day, I was thinking about some upcoming travel through New York. I was thinking about possibly running a New York Road Runners event in the morning and then going to a game at Yankee Stadium in the afternoon. I started thinking about who I would like to have go with me to this particular game. In my head, I drafted the short list of tweeps that it would be fun to hang out with and get to know and then it hit me that none of them were on the special list. I was aiming too low on the pyramid. I overlooked the fact that there were people much much higher on the life pyramid who had invested their time and interest in me.
That right there in a nutshell is my blind spot.
In my life, I have sought out those less invested in me at the expense of those who have historically shown up. I’m not just talking about the twitter-sphere anymore. I have taken for granted those that have been there in the hard times in favor of those that I think I thought would make life more fun. That’s some messed up thinking. As I put my head on right, I realized that when I visit New York, I need to spend the time with that one very special person, my dad.