Brian Sanders

Leadership Endurance “Have A Plan”

Have a Plan


It was one of the first things I saw when I walked through the front door. The list was sitting on the kitchen counter near the telephone. There were three columns, each with a distinct purpose. In each line I saw a name, phone number, and a task/purpose. The list had been handwritten by my dad.

My Dad had learned that his cancer was terminal, so he began preparing my mom for a future that didn’t include him. This was the purpose of the list.

“If the air conditioner breaks, call…”

“For help with retirement funds, call…”

“Regarding firewood, call…”

The list went on and on.

I was absolutely stunned. My Dad had been diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma, but rather than curling up in a ball and doing nothing, he planned. His goal was to make Mom’s future as comfortable and seamless as possible. That’s grit and fortitude.

Dad was looking past his own death and was squarely focused on what Mom would need once he was gone. He was stronger than I’ll ever be. Honestly, I don’t where he found this kind of strength and determination, but I so deeply respect it.

My selfishness is so deep that if you told me I had Stage 4 cancer, I’m afraid I’d be too consumed with fear, loathing and bitterness…but not Dad. He planned. He knew life had to go on even if his didn’t.

 Leaders plan. They see a world where their presence is gone, but their influence remains. Plan for that day.

Be like Dad…have a plan. Leave plans and instructions that will help the next generation by showing them the way.

You won’t always be here, so do what you can to ease the burden for those who remain.  Communicate clearly and explain the why behind each point.

All leaders will eventually exit the stage forever, but their wisdom and influence can live on. To that end, be clear in life, so your influence remains in death.

Do that and you’ll be on the path to leadership endurance.

Brian Sanders serves as Executive Vice President of Positive Alternative Radio. He regularly writes and speaks on leadership topics. His new book, “Leadership Endurance,” can be purchased HERE.

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