I did not know either of them personally and yet it did not diminish the sadness I felt when I heard of their deaths. Nor did it lessen the tears I shed reading and listening to stories and sentiments shared by those who knew them.
Although their contributions to the world were very different, the lists of achievements each had are as impressive as they are long.
But it isn’t their notable accomplishments that have taken center stage, instead what has been emphasized in every interview, every story and every post has been a reflection of who these people were and how they positively impacted those around them.
Both had an undeniable commitment to be of service to others as mentors and as role models. Both were committed to lifting people up and helping others achieve great things.
Whether that commitment was as clear at the start of their careers as it was at the end, both leave this world having demonstrated it in their work, with their families and throughout their communities.
It’s this emphasis on who these people were instead of just what they accomplished that initiates a very natural and important response when we are faced with loss. Instinctively, it causes us to look inside and reassess:
What impact am I having on others?
Am I living a life fully lived?
Are the people I love getting the best of me?
And as Clay posed almost a decade ago in an HBR article that ultimately reshaped the work I do and is still one of my favorite articles of all time, death challenges us to consider the question:
How will you measure your life?
Reflect on these questions. Sit with the resulting emotions and then take actions to address each in the most positive way you can.
Our “tomorrows” are not promised, but we have an opportunity to make the most out of today…both on and off the court.