January 8, 1988 was an interesting day. It was the last day of the first week back at school in the Powers’ household after the Christmas holiday. The world was a week into the Soviet Union’s new economic reform called perestroika. The Dow Jones lost 140 points or 6.5% in a mini-crash closing at 1911.31. (wow – 1911.31 – it’s now cresting 11000) The single most important thing to me from that day was the release of a single by an artist you may have heard of. His name was Michael Jackson and the song is ‘Man in the Mirror’. Quincy Jones commented Michael Jackson was looking to add an anthem to his follow-up to Thriller, a project which would eventually become his 7th studio album entitled Bad. Jackson was looking to have a song which would inspire and be a call to arms for his fans to add value to their lives and to the world. For me as an impressionable 12-year-old Michael Jackson fan – I just liked the song. It wasn’t my favorite though. I always gravitated to his more up tempo songs. The Way You Make Me Feel, Bad, Dirty Diana, and Sooth Criminal were all on that album. In fact, it was the first album in history to have its first 5 releases hit #1 and the only album ever to have 10 of its 11 tracks released chart in the top 10. However, Man in the Mirror didn’t hit me till later in life. Maybe I simply did not understand the significance of the lyrics.
“I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. And no message could have been any clearer. If you want to make the world a better place take a look at yourself and make a change.” Why couldn’t I have learned the power of this statement at 12? Or 22? Or 32? It’s not like I haven’t had opportunity. My faults and flaws are clearly on display for all to see and have been as long as I have been around. At 12 I could write it off as being twelve. At 22 – well nuff said. At 32 it was a little more difficult however I was still well head of the success curve for my age so it could be chalked up to stress or pressure or coping. The fact of the matter is this; I haven’t really had to “take a look at (my)self and make a change” . I have been able to continue entrenching my weaknesses as I have made excuses or blamed the result of my weakness on others or other situations. It has been harder and harder to look at the man in the mirror as I climb Dream Mountain as I have grown very aware the extra weight I carry up the mountain is not the supplies which will help my dreams come true but rather the weight I carry is the excess baggage of not having “changed my ways”. The ascension of Dream Mountain and the decisions my wife and I have made over the last 7 months have removed all excuses as to why I carry the extra weight except for one – the man in the mirror. As we prepare to climb to Base Camp 2, although the path of the climb may have been altered a bit, the extra weight I carry needs to be removed. I “want to make the world a better place” therefore I will continue to “look at (my)self and make a change”. Would I change how these years and experiences have unfolded? No. Would I do it all differently? No. If I were to do things differently I wouldn’t have the wealth of experiences I do now. It seems to me leading others to change or managing people through change is one thing but managing the change in my life is a whole other story. Managing the change in my life takes a constant awareness of what and who is in the mirror. How easy do you find it to look in the mirror? What do you say to your reflection?
I’ve heard it said we are all creative, resourceful, and whole and that I have all of the tools to make the wholesale adjustments needed to be the best me possible. To be the man God created me to be. It seems to me the only person who, in the past, has not bought into that vision is me. Maybe I’ve thought it would be too hard, maybe I haven’t had to try, and maybe I haven’t wanted to? It is hard, I am trying, and I do want to. I’m starting with the man in the mirror and I’ve asked him to change his ways. No message could be any clearer. I want to make the world a better place. So, I have taken a look at myself and agreed to make a change.