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Monday, March 18, 2013

Les Brown

"Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago."

American Speaker, Author
1945 -

What are you doing today that will help someone a generation from now?  We all need to be planting seeds today that will bear fruit tomorrow.  Whether you are a writer, an artist or a singer, you need to be giving back.  None of us have gotten where we are without the help of others.  And each of us owes something to future generations.

Years ago, when we lived in Indiana, we had sold our house and were moving to Minnesota.  My wife and I planted a flowering tree in the backyard.  We knew we would never see it grow, but we also knew that someone would enjoy its beauty some day.

As creative leaders, our gift to future generations is often our creative work.  People may not read our writing and buy our paintings while we are alive, but sometime in the future people will come to appreciate what we created.  People will be inspired by our work.  We will touch lives and change hearts.

Creative Practice:
This week do something that won't bear fruit for years to come.  Give back to future generations.  Create a masterpiece.  Plant a tree.

I have listened to Les Brown often on tape and CD.  He tells a powerful story about growing up poor in Miami, Florida.  He was born in an abandoned building in Liberty City, a low-income section of Miami.  He was adopted at six weeks of age by Mamie Brown.  Mamie was a 38 year old single woman, cafeteria cook and domestic worker, with little education or financial means.  The one thing she did have was love which she gave in bushel baskets to Les and his twin brother, Wesley.

In the fifth grade, Les was labeled, "educably mentally retarded" and returned to the fourth grade.  He later flunked the eighth grade and he was often call DT for dumb twin.  Les began his career as a DJ.  He has been a broadcast manager, community activist, political commentator, state legislator, nightclub emcee and keynote speaker.  In 1992, he was selected as one of the top five outstanding speakers by Toastmasters International.  He is the author of the books, Live Your Dreams, and It's Not Over Until You Win.

Here is Les Brown speaking: