Lest we forget… I wrote this article in the aftermath of the 9.11 terrorists attacks, and thought it might have some relevance for balance in your life today.

A personal note from Dave Kahle


I hope you’ll forgive my short deviation from purely business issues, but the terrorist attacks are just too large an event to let pass without some comments.

After the initial sense of horror and shock has dissipated a bit, we’re all left with the question of, “What now?”  What now for the world?  What now for my business?  What now for me and my family?

While I’m in no position to predict world events, and I’ll save my views on business strategies for later, I do have some thoughts about the remaining question – “What now for me and my family?”

There is no question that the past few years have been filled with a feverishly expanding workday.  We ran to keep up with the exploding rate of change, worked longer and longer and harder and harder, and focused most of our energies on the insatiable demands of our jobs.

And, in so doing, many of us squeezed out of our lives some more important things: time for reflection, commitment to lasting values, emphasis on our families, friends and associates.

On Friday of last week, I found myself unexpectedly in the office due to a cancellation of a seminar I was to do.  As you know, President Bush had declared it a day of prayer and remembrance.  I felt a need to do something, so I organized a time of prayer at the end of the lunch hour for the people who work in my office building.  About 50 people showed up to pray and cry together.  I didn’t know the overwhelming majority of them, and those that I did recognize were just faces that I said good morning to in the elevator.

But we shared a couple of things – a renewed focus on prayer and our relationship with God, and a greater sense of community – of connectedness with each other.  In that 30 minutes, we all focused on some more long-lasting priorities.

My wife pointed out that those frantic cell phone calls from those who knew they were dying all had the same message:  “I love you.”  All the striving for new cars, computers, phones and hi-tech toys didn’t matter in comparison to our relationships with our loved ones.

Over the past decade, I’ve had the privilege of traveling and speaking overseas.  I’ve seen first-hand the respect and admiration in which American business people are held by most of the world.  Truly, most of the world does look to America for leadership.

Back to the question of “What now?”  My suggestion is this.  Let’s make personal commitments to live our lives differently and better, to return to an emphasis on a relationship with God and our families and friends.  But let’s also accept our responsibility to, in fact, be a beacon of hope and a model of freedom for the rest of the world.  Let’s recommit to being proactive, to finding ways to be of service, and to being men and women of character.  Let’s recommit to becoming good people, in addition to becoming good at what we do.  Let’s continue to be a beacon of light for the rest of the world.