By: Terry Burgess, Owner and Career/Executive Leadership Coach, Upward MC
I woke up yesterday morning to a multitude of notifications on Facebook who were bashing Jimmy Fallon, the host of NBC’s Tonight Show because he is stepping away from the camera while he is grieving his mother’s death. I am a fan of his comedic genus though I may not always agree with his political views. However, as a family man and human being he now has a fan for life.
I immediately began to think back to my journey with my mother as she declined in health. It was during the last year of her life and the beginning of my new life after my midlife crisis that I developed my new life’s mantra. This manta is a simple five-word statement that I have told several individuals over time. This mantra is “God, Family, and Everything Else”.
These five words were all I lived during the last year of my mother’s life and beyond. It was during that year that I spent more time with my mother than I had in the previous 15 years. My mother never wanted to interfere with my life. She wanted me to live a life of my own and did not want to be a burden on me. She never allowed me to come live with her and take care of her. She also refused to let me use my FMLA leave until the last week of her death. However, though I may not have seen her in physical presence; we talked nearly every day immediately after I got off work or ended my day.
When I came to visit I used to have a bet with myself on how long until she would run me out to get me back to Kentucky. The average was two hours, any time longer was considered overtime to me. However, as her life came to an end and my life was considerably changing the two hours extended to 3-5 hours a visit. I was very thankful for that time. I came to learn and develop my five-word mantra while I was driving the four-hour roundtrip commute to mom’s house to Kentucky.
She taught me by her conversations and example the importance of the order the words. She lived her life having complete faith in God and his plan for her and life. Immediate after her faith came her family. Here was a woman who lost her husband, became single parent, when she was 34 years old. She moved to Tennessee in 1977 to help take care of her parents and to help provide more family support for me until their deaths in 1996 and 2004.
Finally, after my grandmother’s death, I began to learn the meaning of the last two words of the mantra from her. I started to realize that mom focused on her faith and family relationships more. She because less focused-on material wealth and objects. She often told me she never wanted anything for Christmas or her birthday. One day during her last year on Earth she told me the following paraphrased conversation:
“Son, I think you already know this, but I want to tell it to you anyway. You always must put your faith in God and let him guide your life. Second, you must be faithful and committed to your family (both blood and non-blood). Finally, if you take care of those two things you will be the richest man in life because everything else will come in to light according to God’s will and it does not matter what the World thinks.”
I am a big fan of “The Strangest Secret” recording by Earl Nightingale. However, I am a bigger fan of “The Ultimate Secret” of my mother’s wisdom she gave me. It is both these secrets which have made my “midlife renovation” complete.
I have come to realize today that Jimmy Fallon has learned and applied “The Ultimate Secret” in this season of his life. Yes, I realize many individuals who may have had tickets for the taping of episodes of “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” are disappointed and down because he has cancelled these shows.
However, the critics who are calling him a “pansy” or “unprofessional” are uncompassionate, uncaring, and dead individuals who need to learn the real meaning of life. Jimmy Fallon is a human being not a machine. He has faith, feeling, and family. He puts those before any worldly monetary work, notoriety, or riches.
In my opinion, Jimmy Fallon is a man whom I wish his critics would become because his focus is on those things that cannot be measure in the number of this world but the numbers of our heavenly realm. Jimmy Fallon today became a hero to me because he has put his faith and family above “Everything Else”!
If you are needing help or discernment on where to go next in your midlife journey. Please feel free to contact me for a complimentary 1-hour coaching session. I can help you develop a simple starting point plan to help you get on the road from your “midlife crisis” to your “midlife rediscovery and redesign” for your life. You can visit http://bit.ly/SchedulewithTerry to schedule you complimentary coaching hour!
Terry is a Personal Leadership and Midlife Coach for Men with Upward MC in Benton, Kentucky. He can be contacted via e-mail at Terry@upwardmc.com or by phone at 270-493-0967. His website can be found at http://www.terrypburgess.com