So far to go?

I was mentored for three decades by Campbell McAlpine, an amazing man who I met when I was 24 and he was 56. I looked up to him as a role model, and a second father in many ways.

The epitome of a wise man. Gracious, perceptive, gentle, strong.
The epitome of a wise man. Gracious, perceptive, gentle, strong.

He was the father my old Dad could never be – however hard he tried! Campbell was amazing.  He accepted me just as I was and was kind enough not to leave me there.  Campbell died in 2009, but his spirit lives on in my head and my life. He taught me so much, and you’ve benefitted from his wisdom … and yes, you’re about to benefit from it again!

Campbell loved words. He was a persuasive public speaker, had several books published, recorded sets of CDs and thousands of tapes. (Yes, cassettes. It was a while ago, remember!)  Here are some of his favourite sayings that have impressed themselves on me.  Choose one for yourself and let it sink in:

1. “The room for improvement is the biggest room in the world – and I’m in it.”

2. “Andrew, go for influence, not prominence.”

3. “Live like a leader.”

3. “Andrew, have you got five minutes?” Yes, Campbell?  “Clean the car!” (My car, not his! He was a stickler for valuing and looking after things you have.)

But the one that was a challenge for me was “The thing is, I’ve so far to go.” (said in a Scots accent:  “…faar ta goo.”)  What, Campbell?  The most saintly person I knew?  If he had so far to go, I thought, I haven’t started yet.  But I have grown to realise that ALL of us, however far we’ve come, have faar ta goo. I don’t take this on board as a challenge that taunts me with an ever receding horizon, but simply as a reminder that I’m not in a situation where I can brag about my ‘arrival’ in life. We are invited, not to reach some impossible ideal perfection, but simply to keep walking and to get up when we fall. I’m invited to remind myself and others that the next mile is worth it, has never been travelled before (by anyone) and has something to teach me, something for me to experience that will enrich my life if I let it, and will enrich others’ lives when I share it.

… as I just have. Now its your turn to share Campbell’s legacy, and my legacy, and now your legacy. What you are discovering, plant it into the life of another person, and make the world a better place.