Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Don't Stop Believing

The truth may be known, but sometimes, there is no answer.

If I leave something behind, I leave behind the best and worst I’ve seen, and this: Don’t Stop Believing.

Before the season ended, not one fan believed the Habs would go far. Or even make the playoffs. Soon enough their best player was injured. And tonight, their most unsung hero was injured.

But I’ll tell you tonight’s defeat was not bittersweet.

Before all this happened, I lost a treasured belief in them, and I had a lot of treasure to lose. They gave so much of it back. More than I thought they could give back. Improbable comebacks, never done before, beating this year's best team. Then beating last year's champs. Two teams, with the league's best two players.

Not one of us believed, until it happened.

So many magical things in life can be summed up like that. In fact, I know of not one piece of magic that can’t.

Magic leaves us belief.

* * *
Law & Order ended tonight. 20 years. I have so many stories. These are their stories. Random intersections in charity, online, in public life or on stage. When you are randomly discovered in acts of kindness or inspiration – off the set - enough said.

Would I be surprised if anyone from Law & Order ran for President, showed their face in a big way for a cause, or lent a helping hand to an unsung musician?

The answer is an unequivocal, no.

Law & Order's Jeremy Sisto played after my friend Andrea Ramolo sang in her New York debut. Andrea and Jason Skiendziel drove 24 hours from Memphis to New York City and then headed off for an 8 hour drive in a winter storm to Toronto.

They’ve done this. More than once. More than one would like. A Sacrifice to make it happen. And what is it? It is a miracle.

There’s a reason why they’ve lasted this long.

Some people try to give relationship advice and they’ve never had one for 2 years, let alone 20. A lot of amazing things happen in 20 years. I know this from friends I’ve had for 35 years, 20 years, and even 10 years. So many people use the word “sustainability” without knowing what it means.

There are many chapters in life. There’s really no such thing as an exit. You live with it for the rest of your life. There’s running away, but not an exit. Exit is when you die.

What did i learn from staying? Persevering through adversity —thinking bigger, creates a bigger road. That’s a street in New York City by Chelsea Piers known as Law & Order Way.

It became a real street

There was never a road until many people walked on it.

* * *
Often in leadership, I wonder if we can lead the good while dealing with the bad. There are many reasons why we chase the bad. Avoiding denial, human nature, not letting the bad get away with it (so much of it now), and our human side sometimes gets the best of us in reaction. But you can do this so much (like the news) that you stop paying attention to good things.

We start to lose belief. Other people help us lose even more belief. And the bad will take hostages. The bad doesn’t care about you, or the person next to you.

I lost a brother, and I lost a friend Nicole Vienneau who just vanished.

My brother didn’t live more than 29 years. Nicole Vienneau disappeared at age 32.

Nicole Vienneau - her last word in her diary after seeing a sunset was "content."

Life is precious.

My brother, he never complained in life. 10,000 people followed him – and this is before Twitter, MySpace and Facebook. He started a movement by pure reputation.

Though I don’t talk about it much, the bereavement of my brother's passing was tarnished by acts some unnamed people chose to do around the time of his death, leaving a horrible residue, now two years later. I am helping investors chase what happened to their money. We know Oil Spill (I say symbolically). A lot of resources were exhausted, and it’s still ongoing via a third party now leading an investigation. It’s a difficult case as all white collar improprieties seem to be. But it’s also these things that getaway that cause our planet to be the way it is today. Do we simply say I accept, so we can personally move on?

Then came people who made Nicole Vienneau disappear, cowards. It’s funny how acts of the worst people distract, and later turtle behind even worse acts by others. Priorities always seem to help the bad cover up.

When it comes to chasing the bad, finding what happened to Nicole is my priority. Culprits in both cases, however, shouldn’t under-estimate my persistence. I believe nothing is impossible. When they think we’ve given up, not one breath of mine speaks that language. The memories of my brother and Nicole keep me going daily. IIlegitimus Non Carborundum was the slogan of a newspaper I once started. Don’t let the bastards grind you down. We’ve lived that slogan by example many times.

24 is a show that lasted a long time. If you ever ask yourself why you like the show, it might be because it shows how contradictory life can be. The bad guys look good. Good guys turn bad, and maybe good again. Few things are straight up when you chase something gone wrong. And that’s what we know.

I’ve often asked myself, as someone who’s thought big, forgiven big, if I could forgive people who tarnished the bereavement of my brother.

I’ve often asked myself if I could forgive people who may have irreparably harmed Nicole Vienneau. I wonder what I'd be capable of doing when I find them. I don’t have the answer. Nor does Jack Bauer.

But what I can say, the people who did these things have done nothing to change my mind in bigger way.

I also know I can chase them for the rest of my life. The memories of my brother and Nicole fuel me everyday. They were some of the best kind of humanity. And if we can’t defend the memory of people like that, I really don’t know what value we hold in life.

* * *
There are heroes who let us down sometimes. They once represented a strong voice that meant so much to us. And then one day, like 24, they’ll betray what they’re about. They’ll betray us. They’ll betray everything we believe in.

He wrote When Heroes Change Professions

It can lead to no good of course. There are idiots who will beat us down to beat us at their game. A trap from which there is no victory.

In leadership, I always wonder if one can lead the good when chasing the bad. I see this question constantly, as I chase people who made Nicole Vienneau disappear or hid what happened to investor funds. Two unrelated acts of inhumanity. I can tell you one thing – chasing the bad is far more work than chasing the good. More time than to find that unbelievable magic that makes a dream come true.

Yet in life, the bad has its way of taking more time.

It may even take up years of time or a lifetime. Some days, you might even lose yourself. It’s why I quit journalism, after chasing one too many stories of crime.

What I do know is that there are many inspirational people who don’t have to get their hands dirty like I am called upon sometimes.

To you who make good, I see you no differently than my daughter who is better than I.

You have a chance. You can inspire. When you were born, you knew no bad. It didn't matter. When you flow the magic, that’s all you need to know. Everything else will come.

If you know the magic, if you’ve seen the magic, you’ve lived the magic, you know what can come.

Tonight 24 ended. Tonight Law & Order ended. Tonight the Habs ended. But they left us belief.

Don’t stop believing.

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