Most of us coast along in life day-to-day, and we don’t always think and act mindfully in the moment. There are many reasons why it’s important to practice doing so most of the time, but perhaps the biggest one is that things change quickly in life — and often unexpectedly. When you’re mindful, you have fewer regrets when they do. Here are a couple of examples that have happened to me recently.
Many of you are aware that I’ve been in the music/tech space as a veteran for most of my career, since the dawn of the digital music revolution. I’m proud not only of having been a pioneer steeped in co-creating many of the key milestones that have impacted the evolution along the way, BUT also in having shared those experiences with a cadre of cherished colleagues alongside — many of them for over 25 years now. One off those fellow visionaries was Jay Frank. Jay was instrumental in envisioning the future of streaming driven by user-influenced playlists years before that took off. Feel free to review more about Jay in this obituary on Billboard. He was only 47 when he passed of cancer; he hadn’t told many of us about it — and his loss was a real shock. He certainly accomplished a lot in his years on the planet and left a lasting and palpable legacy. I hadn’t been in as active touch with him during the past couple of years, which I regret, but he knew how much I respected him.
I’m proud to be on the advisory council of Harvest Summit, an annual ‘field trip’ gathering of successful high achievers from different industries who come together in wine country to embrace innovation. Each year we feature a powerful keynote speaker to wrap up the event, and at this year’s event just a few weeks ago in mid-October we were fortunate enough to have Bernard Tyson join us. Bernard was the beloved CEO of Kaiser Permanente, the huge healthcare system, and he was responsible for creating some of Kaiser’s most progressive and innovative efforts during his nearly three decades with the company. He was someone who made a real impact & a lasting legacy. At Harvest Summit he was inspiring and infectious. And when I approached him afterwards, we had a brief chat and he was very warm and gracious. Just a few weeks later, Bernard passed suddenly at 60. His wife is a colleague of mine, and I’d heard about how wonderful he was for quite some time. I was so pleased I had the opportunity to connect with him and got to experience his presence firsthand.
Finally, I’m enamored of wine country and Sonoma County at large; so much so that I intend to re-locate there in the coming years. I’ve built a large community of people I care about greatly in that region. Two years ago, over 5000 homes were lost to the devastating Tubbs Fire there. The week after I was at Harvest Summit in mid-October — right in that same location — the unthinkable happened in that the Kincade Fire took off like crazy with flames fanned by strong Santa Ana-like winds in that same general region causing widespread evacuation, power outages and unrest in that same region for over a week. Some homes were lost again, but owing to the brave firefighters who were determined to save lives and properties (and with some support from winds dying down), the fire was brought under control at last. This has all reinforced for me just how important it is to be prepared for natural disasters — I’ll be putting together an emergency “go bag/kit” shortly as a result.
I guess in summary, the common thread here is that’s important to be present and mindful in all our interactions with others, and not take anyone or anything for granted. Because life is truly fragile, and what we’re privileged to enjoy today could be taken away without warning tomorrow.
Be here now.