You, reduced to three words.

These days many industry groups that hold conventions or national meetings pay for a professional speaker to give some sort of visionary or motivational speech to their attendees. I guess everyone has come to the realization that a steady barrage of PowerPoint is an assault to the senses and psyche.

Today I am Philadelphia and attending a conference. Our professional speaker was Major General Vincent Boles.

His website:

He gave a great speech. Concise, clear and as you might expect from a military General, blunt at times. The speech covered various aspects of leadership and how application of leadership can be simplified. One point he made in the speech was consideration of how you are viewed by people in your life, your family, friends, coworkers, subordinates, etc. The story behind the concept was about a member of the clergy officiating over a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. The clergyman (unknown if pastor, priest, etc) did not know the deceased veteran or his family. He leaned in to the widow and asked “What three words best describe your husband?

Three words? This man had been in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Had a family, children, grandchildren. Boil down a life like that down to three words.

It is a provocative concept and it got me to thinking. I think I might create a website or an email survey and ask a long list of people I know, even those who might not like me too much, to give me three words. I think it would be interesting.

It would be interesting to get that feedback while I can change how I impact those around me. Plus, many people in my life are comedians so it could end up being more like a Friar’s Roast.



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