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In the last two weeks, two people I know, both in their 50s, passed away in entirely unrelated circumstances, in different countries. I am not going to be able to make it to either one’s funeral service; naturally, it has saddened me and for those loved ones they have left behind.

A few weeks ago, one of my trusted marketing suppliers sent me a message that simply said, “What people say at funerals, they really should say at birthdays.” It got me thinking about how we never really let people know how they have affected our lives positively or negatively. It is all part of the gratitude thing and letting it go, which I have been trying for the last 5 years since I heard it on the School of Greatness podcast all those years ago. But this is something I could quickly implement; luckily, I got the chance a few days later to try it out. It felt great to go that little bit further, especially in the social media world where birthday greetings on our rugby chat are now just “HBD Bro”. In putting mine together, I worked out a few questions that I could use as a guide;

What has most impressed you about this person?
What joy has this person brought to you?
How do you genuinely feel about this person?
What have they done that has made you laugh?
How has this person influenced you?
… there are many more; just see how you go.

Back to Kai and Shiona,

For Kai, who I only knew as a work colleague back in Germany back in the early 90s and his LinkedIn posts over the years, I raised a glass,

“One special aspect I learnt from you was being passionate about what you undertake; you amazed me with the passion you took on within the team that lifted what we did from good to great.”

For Shiona, who was a very close friend for over 10 years in Dubai and Hong Kong, we are going on a picnic in her honour and will raise a glass of bubbles,

“Your smile and energy are infectious along with your laughter, so often you would make a left-field comment that has us all in stitches. How you looked after and cared for Boris (our Great Dane) when we were away, which led you to get Tex, was so beautiful. The times we sat chatting about the world and the artistic way you saw it was enlightening, something I would never have learnt if you had not been my friend.

I challenge you all to step up and go above and beyond for those who are still able to hear what you have to say.

If you take this on, please keep to your style, or create a style you are comfortable with. If you are not a Shakespeare, don’t start now, it won’t come across as genuine.