Reach Higher with your best work

In honor of the 248th commemoration of our country’s founding and in confidence that we will not only learn from its storied history, understand that the events of the current are not a sign of the end, but that our best days are ahead of us….

“Charged with conspiracy to commit treason, to this day no one knows for sure what he had in mind, but it seems that he was plotting to seize some land in the American southwest and start his own country.  Apprehended along with a former Vice President, were two couriers; Eric Bollman and Samuel Swartwout, in whose possession were discovered secret plans for this incredible scheme. Troops and arms were already being deployed to the target region; it was alleged. The passing of over two centuries since has not abated the astonishment of historians as they reexamine the curious conspiracy of Thomas Jefferson’s Vice President, Aaron Burr.

It was considered “The Trial of the Century” even though the century itself was only a few years young.

Since nobody really cared much for Aaron Burr anyway, who as you will recall had already killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. The nation was crying out for a conviction.

So, enter Frank, a twenty-seven-year-old attorney, who had inherited an entire law practice from his Uncle Phil. He’s young, full of beans and for the most part untested, but he’s the only lawyer in these United States that will take co-conspirators, Bollman and Swarthwout, as clients.

And the trial begins….

I want you to focus on something as tempting as it is to see only the excitement in the Circuit Court in Richmond. I want you to look over to the defendant’s table and the defendant’s attorney. Watch what he is doing. He’s jotting notes on a piece of paper.  It might be, it ought to be, related to the trial. But what it is is…. Poetry?

Poetry. This is the way hotshot barrister, Frank, relaxes.

Over the years Frank’s children would grow accustomed to little rhyming notes from their father, written on scraps of paper and even on a hen’s eggs. It’s more than a hobby, you see, it’s Frank’s favorite way of communicating.  Particularly with the people he loves.

History records that Frank successfully defended the indefensible Bollman and Swartwout, that he argued their case brilliantly, that he got them acquitted and, in the process, quickly became one of the most sought-after attorneys in the entire United States. Burr himself was acquitted as well.

But now whenever you hear his name, whenever you try to fathom what it seems he tried to accomplish, you will also recall an eloquent young lawyer, a part-time poet, who never quit his day job for his poetry. Still, despite the historic litigation that made him famous in the practice of law, there’s only one thing that the world, at large, recognizes him by.  A few lines that he once jotted down aboard a ship. A brief poem that he hastily entitled “The defense of Fort McHenry.”

It begins: 

“Oh say, can you see  

By the dawns early light

What so proudly we hailed

At the twilight’s last gleaming?”

That’s right.  So, now whenever you stand to sing our National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, I hope you will envision a young lawyer named Francis Scott Key, who, as a hobby, inscribed rhymes on the shell of an egg. Perhaps you’ll never again stand without remembering “The Rest of The Story.”” (as told by Paul Harvey, 1918-2009)

The moral:  It’s better to write on than to walk on eggshells! Just kidding.

We simply do not know where the work we are doing today will lead us. We cannot always accurately predict what is just over the horizon. That’s why we should always do our best.  That is why following the process is so important. That’s why the daily interaction with our team members and with our customers is critical.  That’s why COMMUNICATION, documenting the journey, is so crucial.

Your history, after all, is a running start to your future.

A young lady recently asked an entrepreneur, “If a person wants to be where you are – what do they need to do to get there?”  The businessman replied: “It’s simple.  You start where you are, and for the next 20 years, you do your very best.”

If you are willing to do -and be- your best, then keep it up… and give it time…in the high calling of our daily work.

“Always take the High Road or the High 5!”

Reach Higher