“He won’t do it!” chides my buddy Norman. “He’s chicken.” he continues with a smirk on his face.
“Come on Rex, you can do it!” encourages my best friend Tommy.
“How long is he going to sit there?” asks Jimmy another one of our neighborhood gang of ruffians.
It’s nineteen-seventy something and I’m sitting on the roof of Norman’s house after being challenged to jump off.
At the age of twelve. it seemed like a one-hundred-foot drop into his backyard and it had been some time since I had climbed from the tree to the branch that overhung and dropped onto Norman’s house. A feat in itself.
Of course, none of the parents were at home because the thud of me dropping from the tree to roof had me wondering if I was going to fall through the shingles and into his parent’s bedroom.
The boys begin to walk away feigning a lack of interest, it is then I make the leap of faith.
As I make the rapid descent from the roof to the ground the feeling isn’t so bad. That white-knuckle feeling you get when going down the first drop of a roller-coaster. I arrive at my final destination, a soft patch of dirt the other boys had smoothed out to “soften” my landing.
The exhilaration is soon replaced by a sharp pain in my ankle.
“He did it! I told you guys he would do it!!” Tommy shouts out proudly like his favorite football team had won the super bowl.
The boys gather around me as I lay on the ground wondering if I broke my ankle or simply sprained it. Catching the wind that is forced out of my lungs at impact is a secondary concern.
“You ok man?” Norman asks. “My Mom is going to be pissed if she has to call your Mom to tell her you died at my house.” His concern for his own backside is underwhelming at the time as I gasp for air like a fish that was just plucked from its watery home to the confines of a hot metal john-boat.
As the stars that are floating in my line of sight begin to settle down and air once again is getting to my brain, I give a slight smile and a nod that I’m ok and ask, “Who’s next?”
All the boys decline and change the subject to shooting baskets at the junior high near the house.
That night when I arrive home for dinner my parents ask, “Did you have fun playing with your friends after school today?” I reply, “It was ok, we just hung around Norman’s house for a while and then shot some baskets, you know the usual.”
I lay in bed that night knowing I have once again cheated death and solidified my position as one of the tough kids in the neighborhood. As I drift off to sleep I say to myself “Other kids in the neighborhood will talk about this day for years to come. It will be my legacy.”
Today when thinking of legacy, I think in terms of a contributor to society. How will the community speak of me in years to come? Did I contribute to more than my financial security and that of my family?
I often ask myself “How I can help others?” Not just in my business but helping other small business owners that are looking to find their voice in the ever-present din of competingmessages from appliances to theme parks.
Today I take another leap of faith.
Like the boys from years gone by I hear the haunting voices, “He won’t do it.” “He’s chicken.” “How long is he going to sit there?”
I have sat on this project, this calling, for long enough.
This week I conduct my first two interviews for a podcast titledWinter Garden-Ocoee Advise Givers®.
The purpose is to introduce you to smart business owners and entrepreneurs that have found unique ways to impact their customers, clients and patients and to tell their stories.
If you or someone you care about has a business or a cause that is their life’s blood, click here to find out how to be a part of this movement