The Maple-Leaf Affair

medium_8086903740On a recent trip, I couldn’t help but notice a well-dressed elderly lady in a wheelchair. She was sipping at what I assume was a delicious coffee at Muggs & Bean, just outside the boarding gates at Cape Town International Airport in South Africa. I gathered she must be Canadian as her bag had a tag with the red maple leaf found on the Canadian flag.

I did not think much of it until well into our flight. Incidentally, the lady and her husband sat across the isle to my left. That is after I noticed that she was urgently pecking away at an iPad. It was the bold, red, fontsize-24 Arial typeface that grabbed my attention.

“Handling the wheelchair is becoming a challenge. The pain in the shoulders and fingers is getting worse. Need constant help to get around,” she typed out and continued, “Should check out hospice [she even typed out its name]… Prepare for death.”

What? Had I read that right, or was the recycled air in the aircraft cabin playing tricks on my travel-fatigued mind? All this time, her husband would read what she had typed out and patiently respond to her in a soft, loving voice.

This got me thinking of how short the time is to make any meaningful impact in our community [TweetMe]. Should I waste my time chasing my tail or those of others? Or should I build my dream and impact lives with the goodness that was so graciously extended to me by my Maker?

As a leader, the three parts of the maple leaf remind me I need to do the following inspired by Robin Sharma:

First, I must CAST AWAY FEAR OF FAILURE and grow the opportunities I come across [TweetMe]. Robin Sharma reminds me, “Your excuses are nothing more than the lies your fears have sold you.” This lady embraced her fears and talked about them.

Second, Even as I work at it, I need to CLAIM STRENGTH AND COURAGE from significant others and God. I need to remain accountable to accomplish what I set out to do. Robin says, “All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.” Her husband was right there walking her through what must be a very difficult period in her life.

Finally, I must MOVE FORWARD WITH BOLDNESS that is the leader I was destined to be! [TweetMe] “Life is short. Be of use,” says Robin. This lady was courageous enough to accept her life’s situation.

My dream shall become my mantra. From today, I will actively remind myself to serve first. For it is in service that I grow my significance [TweetMe].

How are you growing your significance? What do you need to do to grow your service-leadership?

photo credit: mgabelmann via photopin cc


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  1. #1 by SusanThorn (@elanvitals) on October 22, 2013 - 2:56 pm

    That is an amazingly beautiful story. There are times when we are given the gift of meeting another, and there are rare moments when we are privileged to see the deeper side of humanity and a window into ones soul. That encounter was one where no words were spoke between you, yet I am sure it contained so much more meaning for you that conversations that last hours. Thank you for sharing.

    • #2 by Kimunya Mugo on October 22, 2013 - 3:52 pm

      The depth is what was amazing! It got me thinking hard about life…

  2. #3 by jht29 on October 21, 2013 - 7:30 pm

    Hi Kimunya ~ I loved the power of your story and reflections … and the great call to action! I also think I liked this as your best potential Tweet Me comment ~ ‘I will actively remind myself to serve first. For it is in service that I grow my significance.’ I’ve taken the liberty of tweeting this very powerful comment! Stay strong my friend!

    • #4 by Kimunya Mugo on October 21, 2013 - 7:46 pm

      John, like the great leader you are, you always add value. Thank you for your comment and suggestion… implemented 🙂

  3. #5 by davidhain on October 21, 2013 - 8:20 am

    Passionate plea Kimunya, and well-founded. You have probably seen the article that has circulated from a nurse on the biggest regrets of the dying. There is no day like the present to make a start! Thanks for the reminder.

    • #6 by Kimunya Mugo on October 21, 2013 - 8:34 am

      Thanks David, I remember reading it sometime back. I need to look it up and probably hang it on my wall.

  4. #7 by Jesse Singh on October 20, 2013 - 5:36 pm

    Very inspiring post my friend. Keep up the great work, you truly are a leader.

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