So, I’m out at the Ultimate Software Conference this week and they had one of the most unique keynotes, Will Smith! Yeah, that Will Smith! Fresh Prince, I Am Legend, Hancock, Men In Black, Bad Boy himself!
At HR Conferences you don’t normally get big time Hollywood. You usually get a dude who’s really good looking, who wrote a book, telling motivational stories. The HR ladies tend to like those types. Well, they really liked Will! I really liked Will!
For starters, Will Smith is an entertainer. He immediately grabbed the audience and didn’t let go. He knows how to control and audience, tell great stories, be funny, and hit on big themes that make you think and leave you feeling motivated. That’s what a great keynote can do.
My favorite story he told was about his father dying. His father was told he had three months to live and he ended up living about six months. Will said after they got to three months every single moment felt like it really could be the last moment.
Because of this, hellos became special, goodbyes tended to linger longer, embraces were more special. It went on like that for another three months, and it made Will realize that all moments with those that you love and care about, should be moments like this because we don’t know if that will be the last moment.
On the last day of his dad’s life, Will was in LA and his dad was back in Philly. Will’s dad called him on Facetime and told him he thought this was it, that this was going to be his last day. Since he was going through this, it wasn’t a shock, but he stayed on the phone with him for a while.
Will said they went about fifteen minutes without saying anything to each other, just staring at each other, just spending this time together in the only way they could at that moment. Will’s sister was with her father in Philly and eventually broke the silence and said, “Well, dad, do you have anything you want to say to Will?”
His response was awesome and it brought down the house in classic Will Smith fashion:
My dad said, “Shit, anything I haven’t told this motherfucker isn’t going to make a difference now!”
He died that night. The crowd laughed. Will laughed. At the story, not at his dad dying!
The crowd laughed. Will laughed. At the story, not at his dad dying!
Most of us won’t be as lucky as Will to know you have that time and also in that time realize the importance of those moments. Our loved ones will die today, tomorrow, next week, and we won’t have any idea that it’s coming. We live with this reality.
We also live with a reality that we don’t have to let these moments go by. We can choose to not let moments go by and let people know how much we value them and care about them. For me, that was the real message Will was sharing.
You’ll have a bunch of moments today with people you care about. Try not to miss them!