A Chance to Touch Forever

Published October 4th, 2010 in Blog, Mentoring, Motivation

May 2011: An exciting update to this post. Dr. Peter Wu, featured in the story below is named SAMPE fellow. This is an honor only three other scientists around the world will receive this year. Congratulations Dr. Wu, you indeed touch humanity and change the world. Your story is still inspiring me.

Last week was what I fondly call “crazy in a can!” It was filled with travel and 8 keynote presentations in 3 days. For the record, I loved everyone of those appointments and left each one feeling like something important had taken place.

One presentation stands out in my mind…and it will forever.

At Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, I had the absolute honor of speaking to the “Technical Fellows.” As explained to me, this is a very special group of people. Only a small percentage of the science and engineering population earn this prestigious designation. These are thought leaders who work on amazing, mind-boggling things!

I was there to speak about mentoring – the art of leaving a legacy. That is a requirement of a Technical Fellow. He or she must demonstrate the ability (and willingness) to mentor others in meaningful ways. (I really love that by the way.)

The Chief Scientist, Dr. Peter H. Wu is well known and deeply respected around the world. When he arrived, it was as if grace and humility stood on each side of this brilliant man. I asked him a few fairly standard questions, “What is your objective for this presentation Dr. Wu? What are you hoping to accomplish in here today?”

His answer changed every presentation I will deliver in my lifetime.

Dr. Wu smiled and quietly told me, “These are people who have the opportunity to touch humanity and change the world. You have the opportunity to touch them.”

Wow. Speaking of purpose!

His answer energized me to the very core of who I am, and I enjoyed every second of that marvelous opportunity. It was an amazing time – an honor and a pleasure.

The next day as I stepped into another presentation room, his words came back to me. “These are people who have the opportunity to touch humanity and change the the world. You have the opportunity to touch them.”

Those words are true of every audience and every interaction – for me and for you. Thank you Dr. Wu for reminding us that inside of every communication there is a chance to touch forever.