This came in a e-mail newsletter.

I share with permission.  Thank you Mr. Davis.

Please forgive my indulgence to share a very deep lesson I learned this past year. It’s not a new lesson for me, but a powerful reminder of one I try to keep in focus throughout my life. I will die. You will too. The question is how we will die and how we will be remembered.
This year, I had the privilege of attending two memorial services. Yes, the “privilege.” Two amazing people in my life passed away after prolonged bouts with cancer.
I won’t share the details of their lives because I lack the ability to succinctly convey the impact Deb Cole and Cal Brown had on hundreds of people directly and thousands indirectly. At both services, however, lives were revealed that showed two people who courageously walked into the darkness with dignity. That darkness is of course death.
The last time I saw Deb, an artist, teacher, traveler, and consummate optimist,  she was smiling and laughing as though she had not a care in the world despite knowing her days were numbered. Cal, a world renowned expert on rheumatoid arthritis, avid cyclist, boater and incurable optimist, displayed equal dignity in the face of death.
I remember asking Cal, during the last cycling excursion I would ever enjoy with him, what the prognosis was for his cancer. He flatly replied, “Oh there is no prognosis.  I’m just trying to manage it the best I can.” It was then that I realized for the first time he was dying. It wasn’t news broken to me by others in a moment of hushed, fear-based gossip. It wasn’t a sobbing admission expressed in fear.  It was a matter-of-fact comment from a man staring down death and calmly stating the inevitable.
At his funeral, Cal’s brother remembered the moment they received the pivotal diagnosis of likely death. He told Cal, “We’re going to battle this thing.”
Cal replied, “I’m not going to battle cancer. I’m going to interpret it.” He planned to “interpret” cancer. And he did. He understood it’s toll. He watched how people responded to him. As a doctor, he retained his clinical curiosity about the heinous infiltration to his body. He interpreted cancer just as we should interpret life.
Again…it would be impossible for me to express the dramatic impact these two people had on the lives of so many. The real lesson at both services, the two most magnificent memorials I have ever witnessed, is that our power is not in what we do or get for ourselves. It is the contributions we make to others.
So 2019 has been a tough year for many. Violence is high and we have become inured to mass shootings such that they barely make front page news. Suicide rates are up 33% in the last ten years according to the American Psychological Association. There is a lot more bad news to share…but what’s the point.
If you’re tense and nervous and you can’t relax, (yes! quoting from David Byrne of the Talking Heads!) you’re not alone. There is fortunately something you can do about it. Build your legacy.
I admit I couldn’t help at moments during the memorial services wonder what people would say about me when I die. (And please do NOT respond to tell me…please. It is NOT the purpose of this e-mail. The e-mail is my gift to YOU.) I wondered if I was alone so I asked others at these services and every one admitted that they had felt the same thought creeping in. In fact, nearly every one said they felt humbled.
Let’s be clear. Nobody felt humbled because these people had amassed wealth. Wealth addiction and the admiration of wealthy people has become a fascination worldwide bordering on pathological. Let it go.
They all felt humbled because you could literally feel the presence of Deb and Cal at their own services. Their spirits live on. The attendees felt humbled because they wondered if such magnificent memorials could or would be held in their honor. They felt humbled because they faced the truth of the inevitable. Eventually a life we lead gives way to a legacy left behind.
Legacy is a funny thing. We will all be remembered for something, but too often fail to consider our legacy until it is too late. For the wealthy, they create legacies by buying hospital wings, university buildings, and endowments. The rest of us have to go a different, humbler route and one I would argue is equally honorable…if not more.
My friends were remembered partially for the dignity of their deaths, but more by the humble contributions of their existence. I think that they died with calm dignity because they knew what they had accomplished.  I wish the same for you. You will die too. It’s a truth worth considering so you can strive to be remembered as you wish. It is your legacy.
Christmas, even though I was raised as a Jewish boy, has always held a special place in my heart. I remember watching alone an old version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (the 1938 version with Reginald Owen and the only one I think worth watching) and crying so happily when he resolved his past to embark on a new and better future. To me, it is what this time of year is all about.
It’s cliche’ to say it is not about trees and lights and gifts, but yet we spend billions every year to ensure the symbolic trappings of the holiday are emblazoned throughout the landscape. But is this really the spirit of Christmas? Toys? Shopping? Food comas?  Of course not.
We know Christmas is about something deeper, but struggle to tap into the love and unselfish giving that is truly Christmas. Not just once per year. But all year. All life. But how do we remind ourselves of that?
Remember life is not permanent. Live knowing death awaits. As we prepare for another year and a new beginning, my wish is for you to live to build a legacy that endures long after your body does.
It is a beautiful world.  Live to give. Live to build a legacy that people will envy and, more importantly, seek to emulate.
Merry Christmas. God bless us all. Everyone…especially tiny Tim.
All content in this email is the copyright of Building Leaders unless otherwise noted.
Rick Davis, CDT CSP
Office: 773-769-4409
Cell: 773-255-5539




Just a little tip.

A long long standing tradition of sending your client something (especially something generic) like Christmas food is probably money wasted (unless of course it’s homemade cookies or something sentimental, then please do!!!!).   I would almost tear up when a CUSTOMER of ours Laurie Wenger from Wenger roofing would bring in a pile each year.    That’s good stuff.

20 years ago or so, I don’t even remember the person or vendor, I guy bought me wild rice he picked himself.  Led to a story and I still remember it.  Kind of cool.  Weird.  But cool.

I’m talking the generic stuff: cheese trays, popcorn, etc.

While it’s never WRONG to send something to your client.


They Irish to the core?  Send em a bottle of Jameson on St. Patricks Day.

Do they eat out every Saturday night at Schwartz’s?  Call Schwartz’s tell them next time they come in you got the tab.


Send a book on a follow up to a conversation you had with them.

Don’t believe me, here is an actual picture of food people brought into Drexel at our downtown building just today.

Who knows who it came from!!!?  Of course kind of sad, but reality.  And I am sure reality at most places.   Surely, not what our valued partners that sent it to us hoped!  I know they envisioned me opening it up, reading the card, saying, josh that was nice, thank you.  In reality, I walked by grabbed a chunk of cheese and moved on.




“Be the things you loved the most about the people who are gone.”
That one was shared by Ben McCarty – and I really like it!  Thanks Ben!
Yesterday I pulled up some notes from 10 months ago when I took over the Head Coach role, and at the top of the page were these quotes/comments that I had on there to set the tone for the rest of the mission. The mission of leading this team. Supplying Happiness. Earning people’s trust, etc..  These are great reminders/motivators for everyone, and considering it fits into the quote-of-the-day theme, I wanted to share:

-No such thing as a bad day.

-Lead By Example

-Always Remember to be Kind

-People may not recall what you did/said…but will remember how you made them feel.

-Make sure your servant’s towel is bigger than your ego.

-It’s never wrong to do the right thing.

-Our minds don’t lead people, our hearts and our values do.

Notice, the start of my 5 pages of notes and goals had nothing to do with sales, or margin, or metrics of any sort. Those things come naturally when you focus on the roots. I would encourage anyone to do the same. And remind yourself of your priorities every day.
Donny and Richie Weyer have been working side by side for many years. In the past decade, they have been working most frequently in Kewaskum. Both retired I believe….or at least of retirement age, but just have a passion for swinging a hammer.  Last weekend Richie had a heart attack on his way to church. He passed away days later. It was his time. It didn’t matter how many nails were left to pound or how much money in the bank or whatever other goals he had. The good Lord had other plans. That’s how it works, and that’s why you should live the way you want to be remembered. Stay the path. Keep the faith. Be good.
Take care team!




State of Happiness was now 2 weeks ago.  Gosh, seems like forever to me.

Like putting deodorant on, or some fresh cologne.

Feels fantastic.

Then two weeks later… we are back to stinky, stinky!

That’s motivation in a nut shell.

So #1, constantly find sources of motivation.  That’s on you to find that.  But that can be hard.

#2 maintain a list with deadlines. That will force you to stay on task.




MOTIVATION = Average.  You don’t really change anything, you just get a little blood flowing once in awhile.  It feels good, but it’s not something that will carry you.


Whether you feel like it or not, things require WORK.  Boring, lazy, routine, work.  No matter your role here  or your life, it can be pretty damn average.  Actually I think all of our lives are pretty damn average.  And we should embrace that.

Hugging a love one, following up on a task, having a hard conversation, are what in the end — what mattered.


The more detailed you are, the quicker you can be, the better you can get.

You might think I’m all big picture and work on cool shit.

Not really.

I buy vacuum cleaners for the office sometimes too.

And then in my detail orientated mind, I made a video of it.  Took me 10 whole minutes.  DON’T OVER THINK SHIT.  GET SHIT DONE!


This will save us tons of hours and MONEY  and STRESS going forward in a little way.  But LIVING LIKE THIS opens ME UP FOR LOTS OF GAPS AND ROOMS AND TIME TO DO OTHER COOL STUFF WHEN IT COMES UP.

The video is incredibly average.  Buying two was average.  Some would say “beneath me.”  I would never say that.  It had to be done.  So I did it.  NO BIG DEAL.

You have to known when to delegate and ask for help, but sometimes you have to know SCREW IT, I will do it myself.

It’s a fine balance.



Lastly, if you went to someone’s house or had people over, I bet you found time some how to clean up to PREPARE FOR THEM.   This winter, right now, act like you are having someone over (make room for that new project) and clean up.  Get ready.  That way if an opportunity or work explodes and presents itself you are ready (like having company over).   Even if the company never shows up, you feel good!