A week ago Monday, I was in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood with my family and thousands of others, there to watch and celebrate as my son John completed his sixth Boston Marathon. It was a beautiful New England spring day, and we’d just sat down for lunch at a local restaurant when everything changed. We heard the first explosion and felt the second (later learning that it was just 700 feet away). Almost immediately we saw the crowds, walking and then running from the area. Their expressions reminded me of 9/11. Through the window someone mouthed the word “bomb”. It was time to leave. We moved briskly to the car, and left the city as quickly as we could. Along the way we were passed by scores of police, ambulance, and other emergency vehicles coming in.  We were shaken, but safe. We were fortunate.


Much has been written about the events in Boston – some eloquent, some banal. I can’t add much. Still, I’ve been reflecting this week more than normal, about what happened, and what I should take away and learn from it. Here are a few of the ideas I’ve been contemplating:

Follow your Heart –Events like the Boston bombings remind us all (near and far) that life is finite, ephemeral, fleeting. A lot of what we’re focused on and doing today won’t make much difference in the long run. So this is a wake-up call for those who need it, time to get busy on stuff that matters. If you’re unsure what’s important, then figuring that out is your first priority.

Change the World – We are reminded yet again that the actions of a few (even one or two) can change the world for bad or good. Unfortunately, it’s likely that we’ll continue to experience these things – terrorist attacks, large-scale accidents, natural disasters – and that these events will shift our world in important and sometimes profound ways. It’s crucial that we continue to pursue our dreams of positive change and improvement. We’re on the threshold of the Fast Future, about to witness the unleashing of the imagination and creativity of the whole world’s talents and passion. This will be an exhilarating (but trying) time of accelerating change.  Today we need the good change more than ever.

Change Your Self – The wise know that all lasting and sustainable change begins and emanates from within. A fresh coat of paint over rotten wood might help for a while, but not long. Those of us with a drive to make a difference must start with ourselves, our teams, and our organizations – to build the momentum necessary for achieving extraordinary outcomes in the world. As we’re told, we must put our mask on first before assisting others.

Keep Running – We typically measure life achievement through starting lines and finishing lines. These milestones make our highlight reels – the choices made, objectives pursued, and goals accomplished. But over the long haul we realize that in life, as in the marathon, the important work is done between the start and finish, in the roughly 50,000 steps taken along the route. Left foot, right foot, left foot. The race is finished through the work, the details, the persistence – and daily showing up to engage and compete. And not only on race day, but also in the many training runs that come before – like the fifteen miler two months earlier, alone and with no one watching, no one cheering. It’s been said that extraordinary outcomes are achieved when ordinary people do extraordinary things. Execution (doing) is extraordinary. Left foot, right foot, left foot.

In the aftermath of last week’s attack, we’ve seen many examples of inspiring heroism and selflessness. The good of humanity has really shown forth. We’re hurt, but we’re still going.  Now it’s time for me, and for us, to get back to work – following our dreams, changing the world, and changing ourselves. It’s time to resume the race, one step at a time. All in.

Running the right race, and running it right.

God bless,


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