Why Do This?

“A life is about its events; it’s about challenges met and overcome — or not; it’s about successes and failures. But more than all of these put together, it’s about how we touch and are touched by the people we meet. It’s all about people. … “

Colin Powell, “It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership”

 That’s the summary statement in General Colin Powell’s book on life and leadership. It’s a statement of his gratitude to people who influenced his life and the choices he made. It’s also reflects his lifelong commitment of service to others.

That’s called a life with “purpose — the intention to contribute to the well-being of others” by Angela Duckworth, in her recent book, “GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.” General Powell continues his life with purpose through the America’s Promise Alliance.

Now, I don’t have a lot in common with General Powell. We both spent time with the 101st Airborne at Ft Campbell, Kentucky in the late 1960’s, he was in a command position, and I was dancing to the tune of my Drill Sargent, drafted to serve and trying my best. But as I was looking for the words to express why anyone would spend time with the WSJ Society I found that statement. It hits the mark for me.

“It’s all about people.” That’s you and all of the people we shared career experiences at Johnson Controls. We’re a bit older now, maybe a bit wiser, and maybe we have something to share to help each other through whatever comes next.

The answer for me to the question, “Why do this?” … What’s the purpose? … is just as Angela Duckworth says … “to contribute to the well-being of others.”

We did that in our careers with good result. Life’s challenges continue and I think we can have a good time facing them together. I have other friends and commitments — Colin Powell suggested for us all to “be a mentor” — I’m doing that, a great way to give back to the younger generation. But, the WSJ Society has some extra leverage to impact others — you.

That’s enough of an answer for me. How about you?

See you at the Reunion, or drop a note, it will be great to hear from you.

Jude Anders

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