It’s been a heartbreaking three days for me.

On Friday morning, my brother-in-law Matt passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. While he’d been battling severe health issues for the past few years, he’d been beating the odds and still fighting. His body finally had enough, I guess.

Matt was more brother than brother-in-law the last 35’ish years. We’ve been close friends and confidants, business colleagues and whiskey and wine devotees.

He supported me in every step of my personal and professional journey with encouragement, support, and a ubiquitous wide grin that spanned ear to ear.

Matt and I had just spoken on Thursday as we did weekly. Normally, we’d meet on Zoom or on the Meta Virtual Reality headset for a game of miniature golf that he’d gotten me hooked on in recent months. This time, he asked for a quick phone call as he wasn’t feeling a lot of energy. Could have been my first clue…

Less than 24 hours later, he was gone. I’m glad we had a chance to talk and say goodbye normally because had I known it was the last time, I don’t know how I would have been able to manage it. My “Take care,, bud” would have to suffice as my final words to my friend and brother. In retrospect, it was probably perfect.

Matt was an avid reader of this weekly missive and would probably be telling me enough already and to get on with something of real value. Okay, Matt. Okay…

Matt had many gifts but maybe the most special was his innate ability to create relationships through a laser focused presence with whomever he was talking to.

It didn’t matter if he’d just met you or you were an old pal. His conversation was with you only. He’d cock his head a little while looking directly at you, ask genuine questions of interest, and always include supportive and gracious comments.

I still remember the several times we went together to those whiskey tasting events filled with distillers from all over the region plying us with spirits in an attempt to make us feel like the richest people in the world and buy as much whiskey as we could carry home. Matt literally knew everyone’s story. He’d introduce me to distillers by telling me their history and the intricacies of their craft. I would later learn he had just met them.

We can all learn from Matt. In both our professional and personal lives, we have countless conversations with others. Too often, and count me as guilty as anyone, we can get distracted mid-conversation. We can think about what just happened, what’s about to happen, whom we’d like to meet, and if we should have pizza for dinner.

Matt was the king of being present and it’s because he genuinely wanted to know about you, your business, your life, and that moment in time.

The best way I can honor Matt in the present is to be more present. I’d suggest that would be a good thing for all of us.

Rest in peace, my brother. I love you, miss you, and know we will meet up again one day for that next libation. Take care, bud.

Keep Chasing Unleashed.

Quote of the Week:

“The business of business is relationships. The business of life is human connection.” 

~ Robin S. Sharma, Canadian lawyer

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