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Bringing Out the Best

During my life, I’ve hung around with some very different types of people. For some, I considered it an honor and privilege to have known them. For others, well, let’s just say it was more difficult. But in every instance, I have been taught something about life.

Some of the men I’ve known include pimps, drug dealers, convicted felons, and murderers (who I was forced to disarm). There have been ornery parachute jumpmasters, toughened Ranger sergeants and Navy SEALs, a professional male knitter (yes, a knitter), and a construction crane operator.

On the other side of the people spectrum, some of the most tenacious, yet delightful people I have known are women. My own mother was a strong woman who raised five younger siblings from the time she was only 14 years old. One of my treasured granddaughters is a young, vivacious, 12-year-old who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last year. She has rallied and thrived with her daily regimen, and I have been amazed by her determination. Others include a wise elementary teacher and a special friend who overcame a challenging childhood.

Prominent professional people have graced my life as well, such as scientists, musicians, artists, and government officials. (By the way, some of these people are included in my new book, The Extraordinary Power of Kindness.)

Regardless of their background, these folks are some of the nicest, classiest people I’ve ever known. I am humbled to have them as my friends and to be considered their friend. Each of them has enriched my life.

As you follow my blog, you will want to get used to reading about my friend, Charley, because I will probably mention him periodically. He is a high-rise construction crane operator and, in my opinion, is one tough nut. You might describe him as rather rough around the edges, but he truly has a heart of gold. He’s also one of the most brilliant spiritual and philosophical thinkers I have ever met.

Just the other day we had a lively discussion about taking the Lord’s name in vain. We bantered back and forth about swearing (which Charley finds practically impossible to give up), and our conversation quickly became filled with his cuss words.

As I listened to him, I began to think about how he makes my life better (even in this conversation). It struck me how that has been a key attitude in just about every relationship I’ve ever had.

With all the unique people I have known, I have been the beneficiary of priceless, profound lessons they have shared with me about the nuts and bolts of life. They have brought out the best in me.

Then, a question of my own challenged me. Have I brought out the best in them?

Looking back at Charley I quickly shared what I had been thinking. He got this crazy look on his face and just laughed. “Now I know why your dad always used to say, ‘There’s a right way, there’s a wrong way, and there’s Bill’s way.’”

That’s probably more true than I care to admit. But I am convinced that looking for ways to bring out the best in others is not just the right way, it’s God’s way.

To do that, I need to be looking for the best, not just for other people, but in other people. I need to be willing to dig deeper to uncover their best, even if they don’t realize it’s there.

That’s one of the goals of this blog. By sharing some of my stories, I want to help you find your best – and be your best. And with God’s help, I know we can do it!

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