What's In Your Permanent File?

I’ve often heard people say that money can buy you anything, and while it's a topic of debate about whether it can buy happiness, many believe in its power to solve problems and open doors.

In 1997, my perspective on this matter shifted dramatically when I sold my company to Bob Sillerman.

He was in the midst of acquiring 80 companies, creating a multi-billion-dollar enterprise, and turning many people, including myself, into millionaires. It's true... I wasn’t a millionaire until that deal.

And while we were the smallest company in his portfolio, the impact he had on us was monumental.

Bob Sillerman, for me, became a figure of utmost respect and importance in the business world.

Yet, 30 years down the line, life presented a drastically different picture of him. Stricken with cancer and a tube in his throat, he was battling his illness while isolated in a hospital.

I decided it was time to pay a visit to a man who had once altered the course of my life. Flying to New York for a 30-minute meeting, I was eager to reconnect and show my gratitude.

When I finally saw him, his excitement was palpable, even with his limited ability to speak. But as we started talking about old times and old friends, a heavy silence fell upon us.

"You’re the only one that has come to see me," Bob said, his voice barely above a whisper.

I was in complete disbelief. How could none of the other 79 individuals whose lives he had changed so significantly have come to visit

This moment was a stark revelation. It wasn’t just about wealth or status; it was about loyalty, gratitude, and the importance of showing up. Bob Sillerman, regardless of his past actions or how others viewed him, needed connection and support.

While there are always two sides to a story, and maybe Bob’s way of life had a role to play in his solitude, this encounter taught me an invaluable lesson.

Maybe this story wasn’t about Bob at all but a reflection of my own values.

It was a moment that would go into my permanent file, reminding me of the profound impact of showing up and standing by those who once stood by you.

As I left the hospital that day, my mind was swirling with thoughts. This encounter with Bob wasn’t just a mere visit to an old acquaintance but a moment that made me reflect deeply on my actions and values.

In the grand tapestry of life, where acts of kindness and genuine connections form the most vibrant threads, I couldn’t help but wonder, "Will this moment make it into my permanent file?"

The permanent file, as I’ve come to understand it, is a metaphorical collection of our most selfless acts of service, the times when we’ve shown up for others without expecting anything in return.

It’s the silent nod to our character, the invisible badge of honor we carry with us, shaping who we are and how we move through the world.

I realized that regardless of whether this moment made it into my permanent file or not, the lesson it taught me was about loyalty, gratitude, and the undeniable power of just showing up.