As a graduation requirement for the ASCENT Managers Leadership Program, I had to write a “This I Believe” statement. It was a very powerful exercise. I invite you to take a moment of self-reflection and think about: what has shaped your values, your thinking and your beliefs? What do you put out into the world that reflects who you are? I’d like to share my statement with you.
This I believe…you get out of life what you put into it. I believe the strength of our relationships contribute greatly to our happiness in life. I believe how you feel profoundly affects how you perform. I believe the more I know and understand myself, the more fully I show up. And ultimately, it all leads to this: all we have is this precious moment, here, now. We have a choice to listen to the better angels of our nature: love, friendship, teaching and connection.
A precious moment that I revisit time and again is the morning of September 11, 2001. I was living in New York City at the time and worked for a large investment bank in lower Manhattan, just seven blocks away from the World Trade Towers. I will never forget watching the plane crash through the second tower, igniting flames a crimson red I had never seen. I will never forget when the towers crumbled to the ground: the morning sunlight turned to darkness outside. I will never forget dampening a paper towel and heading out into the still, desolate streets covered with ash to walk home. I will never forget New Yorkers opening up with compassion and care and offering water bottles, blankets and snacks as we walked home that day. I will never forget the warm embraces and exclamations of joy when my friends saw me walk through the front door, safe. I will never forget the voice of Peter Jennings on the television as he kept us updated around the clock. I will never forget the phone calls from loved ones and friends making sure I was ok. And I will never forget that each one of us had a choice that day to recoil in fear and anger or reach out in love and kindness.
This I believe: that all we have is this precious moment. We can’t retreat. We can’t refrain from showing up. We make the road by walking. Be. Here. Now.
- Lisa Hylton