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Oct 30, 2008

It was the worst weekend of my life. I had been ripped apart. My soul stepped on and trampled. I was week and down. I had just received the worst news of my life. There was nothing that seemed to matter anymore. The questions, the sadness. People say they understand but they don’t.

People say to you, “It’ll be ok!”

It won’t.

Life was swirling, turning black. Anger was rising, rage as red as the centre of the sun. How would I get even, how would I make it right? Who would pay for my sadness. How could I get anyone to understand?

I stood alone, staring into the ball room at the hotel where the conference was being held, full of hundreds of positive, energetic souls… cheering, hugging, clapping. They didn’t know, didn’t have a clue what real life was all about. I was alone. Truly alone. Jaded.

“Hey partner!”

A calm voice doused my smoldering fire. A strong warm hand touched my shoulder. His energy shot through my soul. The voice came from a speaker by the name of Phil Boyte, I had booked him to speak at our conference that year.

“Huh?”, was all I could muster.

“It’s bad a time isn’t it?” He asked.

“The worst” was my reply.

“You need to be at home right now. You should cancel your speaking schedule for the next month or so and work on getting through this.”

“I can’t afford to, I need to pay for…”

“Don’t pay me. There are people in your life who are acquaintance’s and then there are those that are friends. I am a friend. Take the money you would have payed me and pay yourself.”

I said yes and he gave me a hug and walked into the the crowd. Gone. I didn’t even have a chance to truly say thanks.

I saw Phil again today, actually for the last three days. He called me after our first day together and said how good it was to see me again. How happy he was to work with me. I was taken back.

He’s gone now and I forgot to say thanks again. I forgot to write a better note or give him a gift of thanks. Here’s the thing though… I don’t think he would ever want me to. That’s not what he does it for. That’s not who he is.

I made a comment to a few friends the other day that Phil is in my top ten. He is part of my top ten really GOOD people. I don’t mean “best friends”, I simply mean good people. I am better because Phil Boyte is in my life. Thanks Phil, thanks for everything and thanks for those few moments so many years ago. You were the centre of the storm, the calm in the middle. I can only hope that one day I can repay him but not by giving him the money he is “owed”, but by giving someone else the same feeling and compassion he gave me. I am always trying to be better, to learn, to evolve as leader. I am not the best by any means. What I do know for sure though is that I have lots to learn, so do you. That’s ok.

Who is in your top ten list? Who are the good people you have met, it could be someone you have know for years or just met once. If you want to really challenge your thinking write a few lines as to why they are on your list. You may surprised, you may also find a quality that you want to add to your life.

Enjoy today. Live today. Grow today. Be STUpendous today!

Posted by Stu Saunders in Leadership on Oct 30, 2008 at 6:43 pm | Permanent Link | Comments (7)


  • Comment posted on Oct 30, 2008 at 9:31 pm by Christian Gilroy (YLCC Member)

    Incredibly written my friend! Keep sharing your wisdom, please.

  • Comment posted on Oct 31, 2008 at 2:35 am by Chelsey Morphy (YLCC Guest)

    I was at the Horizons conference today with both of you. And your both an inspiration to everyone that sees you speak.

    I learned a lot including men do hug, but I think I learned the most just now reading your blog today. Thank you for doing what you do.

  • Comment posted on Nov 7, 2008 at 5:35 pm by Richard Stuart (YLCC Member)

    hey buddy, you’ll always be in my top 10

  • Comment posted on Nov 7, 2008 at 11:10 pm by kaila (YLCC Guest)

    Stu, you are incredible.

    Thank you for teaching me more than you could even know.

  • Comment posted on Nov 11, 2008 at 1:13 pm by Pamlamb (YLCC Member)

    Stu thanks for being in my life and bringing me strength. I’m glad that you are constantly surrounded by friends, that will help you through the dark days!
    You are amazing and you are definately on my top 10 list!

  • Comment posted on Nov 13, 2008 at 11:27 am by J-O (YLCC Guest)


    Through all the storms, and all the dark, and everything that I don’t understand, I sometimes feel like i have nothing to stand on, and no one to hold onto.

    And then the first weekend of December comes….

    Cannot wait to celebrate the Top Tens of Life with you.


  • Comment posted on Nov 24, 2008 at 8:54 pm by Trish Thachuk (YLCC Member)

    Thank you for the blog
    I have not stopped thinking about my top ten since the blog.  I know with all confidence that you are on my list.  I am beyond greatfull for all the things you have and consistently do for me in small moments and in the big picture too. 

    Thank you for being so sincere and invested in my life it has made me who I am.


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