On January 12, 2010 at 10:20 PM sirens blazed outside my home. With great concern, our family rushed to the front door and observed an ambulance and police car rushing into my neighbors’ home across the street. These neighbors Neil and Kay Lewis are a retired couple in their 70s and one of the pillars in our neighborhood. Over the past seven or eight years that they have lived here, I have observed from a distance how they conduct their lives. I would frequently see Neil and Kay walking together. In church each week they sit close together and with bright eyes absorb and pay attention to each and every speaker all the way from the five-year-old child giving a talk, to the great theoretical sermons. In watching their interactions, I would frequently feel like I was witnessing newly weds rather than a retired couple. 
 
My great respect for Neil and Kay does not come from their professional lives. (Although Neil was a successful executive and Kay is a brilliant musician.) Neil and Kay LewisTheir success comes from three other sources:

1. How they raised their children – Each of their children is a responsible, contributing adult. Their grandchildren are smart, hardworking, productive, and overall thriving. I am fortunate to have frequent contact with one of their sons and I simply do not know a better man on this earth.
 
2. The Service They Render – After retirement Neil and Kay did not sail off to the Bahamas and sip fruity drinks. They engaged in a 2nd career of tireless leadership, spiritual service, and focus on others.
 
3. Their Positive and Vibrant Approach to Life – Neil and Kay treat each other with respect. They are tender and kind. They build others. They do not tear down, but always lift those around them. I watched with great interest as they built a legacy in their family by building a family cabin. I am confident that they deliberately and methodically chose to create a family-unifying activity in a unifying location.
 
Although Neil and Kay are a good 25 – 30 years older than me, I have considered them my dear friends. Neil did indeed have a heart attack and through what I consider a great blessing from God, he was able to fully recover and continue being an example and sage to all of us young bucks.
 
I am blessed to have several sages in my life, but it was at that moment, late on a cold January night, that I cognitively realized the important role they play in my stages of growth and development. 
 
One of my favorite sayings is:
 
A Stupid Man Never Learns From His Mistakes   –  A Smart Man Learns From His Mistakes   –   A Wise Man Learns From Others Mistakes.

I think often we do not take advantage of the sages in our lives. We do not learn from them and avoid the big bumps both in business, and in life.

The questions I leave you with are:

Who are the Neil Lewis sages in your life? And what can you observe and learn from them?
 
Make these relevant observations in business  —-  but more importantly in life.