The Blue Kite Blog

The Best Advice I Could Ever Give

By | September 06, 2011

A week ago today, my husband’s hero, mentor and friend passed away. His boss, a renowned attorney, passed away at the age of 56. It was far too early if you ask me.

Larry was extremely well known in the Tennessee legal community. He was president of the state bar association, had a mile-long list of accomplishments and accolades, and was renowned for his legal prowess.

Yet, during the many eulogies at his funeral on Saturday, we didn’t hear about those things.

Instead, we heard about his laugh that would fill a room. His hearty appetite. His love of hunting and Tennessee football. We heard about how proud he was of his two boys and how much he loved helping others.

He was a great man that made an impact on so many people. And, he serves as a fantastic example of how life should be lived.

In 10 days, four different people I know have died. One of which, many of you knew too (at least online).

I realize this deviates from the marketing and business tips you find here. But, these losses serves as an important reminder about how short life can be.

If I can give you any advice, it would be this…

Your job isn’t your life’s work.

Yes, business is important. And we all certainly want to be successful. But, there is much more to life than that.

It is far too easy to get caught up in the daily grind and our desire for success that we often take for granted the very things that are right in front of us –  our family, our friends, our health, our talents.

I implore you to be thankful for the many blessings that are in your life today.

And, with each passing day, I urge you to live every day as if it were your last.

Live fully.

Love deeply.

Find your passion.

Share your gifts.

Care about others.

Give far more than you receive.

Hold your friends close and your family closer.

If you do those things, I’m confident you’ll find success – not just in business, but in life.

Image credit: Laughlin Elkind


  • Whenever I read about people who died young, I think about my father — who died at 46. One of those medical cases of a person with a clean bill of health from his doctor, non-smoker, avid golfer, and who collapses one day from a sudden heart attack.

    At the funeral service I spoke random thoughts but also mentioned that it is important that we take our time to know our neighbors. Dad was also an attorney, and he made it his goal to know all of his neighbors, and not only those immediately abutting.

    If you know your neighbors, and your neighbors know you, then friendships can form out of simple gestures of geography.

    • Ari – I’m so sorry to hear about your father. It sounds like he was a wonderful man. I hate that he left this world so soon. His medical situation is very similar to Larry’s. He collapsed from what we think was a heart attack or a blood clot of some kind. He went to the doctor earlier that day because he wasn’t feeling well and they didn’t see a thing wrong. It’s crazy how that happens.

      Your point about neighbors is so very true. I think that’s sage advice – we would all do well to get to know our neighbors better, just as your dad did.

  • Well spoken. Thank you.

  • So well said, and so true. It is very easy to lose sight of what really is important in life as we get carried away in the daily grind and buzz….taking a step back and putting ourselves and our lives in perspective is always a good idea

  • Laura, thank you for sharing this message. Death is a stark reminder of the fleeting nature of life, itself. Having been unplugged over the long weekend – I learned of Trey’s tragic death through your post, and I am quiet.

    • So true, Arminda. Death can sneak up on us at any time. 

      I was unplugged most of the weekend and learned of Trey’s death through @ginidietrich:twitter on Facebook. I happened to jump on Sunday night because I couldn’t sleep. Of course, after I read that, I REALLY couldn’t sleep and ended up staying up to read because I couldn’t shake the news. It’s just so sad.

  • Amen sister.
    While my work gets mentioned sometimes via my online presence, if you look at most places you will find me online, it is BEYOND secondary. I don’t define myself by it and never will. 

  • Mark Schaefer at September 6, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Well said and thank you Laura.

  • Sorry for your loss Laura. Your words are wise. 
    It helps to stand back and look at how great our lives really are, even when we are feeling our worst. 

  • Laura, I’m so sorry for all the losses you’ve suffered in the last week and a half. Life is but a vapor, and the older we get the more we realize it. I don’t want to be on my deathbed and look back with regret at the things I didn’t do, the words I didn’t say, and the people I didn’t love. Do them today, because no one is promised tomorrow.

    • Amen, Michelle. It’s stuff like this that reminds us just how short life is. I think too many people wait for “someday” to follow their dreams or do important things. But, if you do that, it might just be too late.

  • Great post Laura. I’ve been working to follow much of your advice since I survived a battle with cancer last year. Thanks for the reminders!

    • Thanks, Dick. I’m sure I have a lot to learn from you. I would love to hear more about your story sometime. I’m sure you’ve learned quite a bit through your battle with cancer. It’s definitely a life-changing experience. Although I’ve not had it myself, so many people dear to me have had cancer – my sister had leukemia when she was 9 (she’s now 29!), my uncle, grandmother, grandfather, etc. It’s a tough battle and I’m glad to hear you’ve survived!!! 

  • Thanks Laura. I get really caught up in work and it usually brings me back down to earth to realize that nobody at my funeral is going to care about my Klout score, etc.

    Please pass my condolences on to your husband.

    • I thought about this and realized my comment was briefer than was possibly right. I actually spend A LOT of time thinking this way. I have extensive funeral/wake plans (this is a huge long story, you’re better off not asking). I remind myself of that story about the guy who was dying who wished he had eaten more ice cream. Or how my cousin always says, “what are you going to do, take it with you?”

      It doesn’t seem right that we have to remind ourselves of death before we’re brave enough to live, and yet, that seems to be the way it works.

      • It’s funny – I’ve definitely thought a lot more about all of this in the past year or two. I guess you think about it more as you age. I think, for me at least, I just want to make the most of the time I’m given. You just never know when it will be taken away. And, unfortunately, it does often take death to give us the harsh reminder to live fully.

    • Don’t worry, Jenn. When I give your eulogy, I’ll be sure to mention your Klout score.

  • The only thing I would add is that if your life’s work is about your passion or driving a vision you really believe will change an industry (or the world), you will be remembered for that. But you can’t fake it. If you don’t really love what you do every day, you’re faking it. 

    • Amen! I think there’s a difference between “work” in the traditional sense and living out a vision as you mentioned. It’s clear you’re doing that, Gini. I hope I am too. What makes me sad is the people who begrudgingly go to work at the same place everyday for 10, 20 or even 30 years and wish they were doing something else. I’ve seen it….a lot. It breaks my heart. 

  • Guess what just got printed out and pinned to my wall? Thanks for the words of wisdom, it is great to be reminded. 

  • Wow after reading @google-dc36b911d916e28477d28fa7664b3edb:disqus ‘s post today, this is truly touching and very true. It’s easy to get caught worrying about things that don’t really matter. My CEO once said to me, “When you’re on your death bed, who and what matters then? Remember that, and don’t live your life for your work. I wish I knew now when I was your age.”

    Thank you for sharing this. 

    • Right – no one every says on their death bed that they wish they had worked more. Work has it’s place. But, it’s certainly not the only thing in life. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Rachael.

  • So sorry to hear of your friend’s loss, Laura, and please pass my condolences to your family and his. Thank you also for the reminders. Nothing reminds us more of life than death.

  • […] Trey was a great business man. He was very knowledgeable and a pioneer in online marketing. But, as my friend Laura Click discussed, that really doesn’t matter much. Life is not about your work. […]

  • All too true; my father passed at the age of 64 and it gave me a much better perspective on what is really important and what I will no longer lose any sleep over. Life is a journey not a destination; enjoy it richly and practice living more within the moment. Don’t forget to have fun………

  • Yes it’s true that life is too short, I agree with you that we live as it is our last day so that we can give the best for our love ones, friends, relatives and of course our neighbors. By doing this if we pass already on this earth we left something remarkable for them. Thanks.

  • […] Thus writes Laura Click, who reflects on the loss of her husband’s mentor along with four other people she knew who left this world too young. When great people are lamented, it is not the hours of paperwork they did that people talk about. Rather, it’s their laugh, something funny they did, how they lived, and how they loved. Read Laura’s great post and take a moment to make sure you aren’t just working, but that you’re working on living. […]

  • […] As I answered the phone for Garth, I noticed that he was getting a LOT of sales calls. I’m sure this happens with every law firm, but what I noticed was that all of the vendors seemed particularly desperate as they had lost the business of Garth’s boss who passed away several weeks ago. […]

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  • […] I were to give you one piece of advice, it would be this – don’t […]

  • […] strikes, it serves as a great reminder that life is incredibly short. Yes, work is important. But, there is so much more to life than that. It’s about being passionate about what you do. It means doing the things that give us joy. For […]