|MV Classics: Aspire to Inspire|
By Todd Harrison MAY 17, 2011 3:45 PM
Getting ahead by giving back.
All you have is your name and your word.
What goes around comes around.
Time is the most precious of commodities.
Each struck a chord and lit the way, even if I didn't fully appreciate the magnitude of their meaning.
The next ten years passed in the blink of an eye. Each step ushered in a new set of challenges that made my previous plateau pale in comparison. Every time I stumbled -- which happened often -- Ruby was there to pick me up.
When the turn of the century arrived, I was navigating a $400 million portfolio through the technology implosion. I began writing that summer and found rhythm in the written word. It wasn't something I expected but it came naturally and helped synthesize my thoughts. Someone told me to write about what you know and what you love. The former was simple enough; the latter was a matter of fate.
Ruby became ill and was admitted to the Del Ray Beach Hospital. Each weekend, I traveled to Florida to hold his hand while he struggled and I shared the tale with my readers. I wrote about my best friend, why he mattered, and how very much I loved him.
An amazing thing began to happen. I received emails from around the world from folks who had similar stories about grandparents, children, mothers, fathers, and friends. There were ten at first and then a hundred. In time, there were thousands. We read those tributes to Ruby while he laid in intensive care, one after another, month after month.
If so many people took time to write someone they never met to lift the spirits of a man they only heard of, I would continue to share my insights in an attempt to help them navigate the twists and turns of the financial universe.
And so it began, the Minyanville community was birthed before we ever knew what it would be or where it would reside.
Letting Go and Carrying On
It was a random Wednesday in the Spring of 2001 when I suddenly stopped trading and booked a flight. I sensed something was wrong and rather than wait for my regularly scheduled sojourn, I canceled my appointments and headed south.
I arrived at the hospital, raced to his room, held his hand and whispered in his ear. Five minutes later, a rush of energy passed through my body as his eyes shut and his grip softened. It was his time and he passed on his terms, surrounded by family as per his wishes.
I should have been prepared for the pain but reality was harsh, as it tends to be. Letting go is one thing but navigating the world without a North Star was different. People deal with loss in different ways. For me, it meant staying true to my word that I would take care of the family and focus on business.
The summer of 2001 was a time of introspection and reflection. They say the greatest tribute you can pay someone is living your life in a manner consistent with what he or she would have wanted. By the time Labor Day arrived, I transitioned from a place of sadness to a state of celebration.
And that's precisely when the towers fell.
The Autumn of 2001 planted seeds that continue to sow with each passing day. I didn’t understand the seismic shift at the time but I began to question my lot in life and the legacy I would one day leave behind.
Soon after, I left my high-profile perch and launched The Ruby Peck Foundation for Children's Education and Minyanville Media, Inc. with hopes of honoring my grandfather and effecting positive change through financial understanding.
It was a world away from money management but a place I knew I needed to be. I remember thinking it would be a welcome lifestyle shift, one without eight-figure daily swings or twenty-four hour stress. I was right but also very wrong as I launched a start-up in an entirely new professional arena.
I didn't anticipate the workload, expenses, energy, or effort but passion and purpose persevered.
Every mistake became a lesson.
Each obstacle was viewed as an opportunity.
As we look forward to 2011, I'm happy to report that our global community has never been stronger and we are indeed making a difference.
Bringing it Home
During the years of conspicuous consumption and immediate gratification, giving back took a back seat to getting ahead. With the Age of Austerity arriving like a clap of thunder, many are struggling as they attempt to adapt to the new economic reality and the attendant social mood.
There’s no denying times are tough and there are plenty of reasons to be upset. We can point fingers or wallow in the “why” but negative energy is wasted energy. If we’re not part of the solution, we’re part of the problem. That may sound trite to some but society is simply a sum of the parts.
A wise man once told me that what goes around comes around. Psychic income may not pay immediate dividends but it enriches the soul in a way that can’t be measured by bottom lines and bank accounts. It doesn’t have to be money, it could be time. It can be whatever you want as long as it’s something.
Each year we do our part to effect positive change for the leaders, healers, dreamers, and visionaries of tomorrow. Friday night, December 3rd, the Minyanville community will gather in New York City and at the end of the evening, a lot of children will be better off because of our collective efforts.
We invite you to join us.
A dream is only as powerful as those who believe in it, which is why I stepped away from the flickering ticks to share this tale. Sometimes reflecting on the past is the first step towards reshaping the future.
May peace be with you.