The Last Words of George H. W. Bush

Former President George H. W. Bush passed away Friday, November 30, 2018 at age 94. It’s reported that his last conversation was with his son, former President George W. Bush.

The New Your Times reports that the younger Bush told his father that he had been a “wonderful dad” and that he loved him.

The elder Bush said, “I love you, too.” Those were his last words.

I notice that the younger Bush didn’t say, “You were a wonderful President.”

Clarity:

When life nears its end, you get clear about what matters.

I remember listening to recorded phone calls from people who died during 9/11. No one said, “And don’t forget to take out the trash.” They often said, “I love you.”

“Jules, this is Brian. Listen, I’m on an airplane that’s been hijacked. If things don’t go well, and it’s not looking good, I just want you to know that I absolutely love you.” (news)

Discomfort:

The language of love feels awkward in business settings. Maybe it’s awkward because the same word refers to how you feel about apple pie and your spouse.

Try using the words, “best interest,” when referring to colleagues, bosses, and direct reports. Seek the best interest of those you serve. It’s the practical expression of love that doesn’t need romantic feelings.

Show up:

Show up today seeking the best interest of others.

Don’t wait to show love. You regret the things you don’t do more than the things you do. For example…

Consider a conversation an exploration. The danger of a quick mind is it makes you seem disinterested in people. Try asking a few questions. Some of my favorites include:

  1. What have you tried?
  2. If this works, what will be different?
  3. What’s important to you about that?
  4. What are some options?
  5. What do you think we should do?

How might leaders show up seeking the best interest of others?