Vale A Unique Man Who Touched Many

Screen-Shot-2013-04-18-at-11.40.12-AMLike many in Australia and beyond, a powerful light went out for me last week with the sudden death of a massive talent and good man. He was special. Here’s the most powerful insight he gave me. Keep it close, forever.

Neil Lawrence died last week while holidaying in the Maldives. Neil was an icon of the Australian advertising and creative worlds. I worked with him on and off for 20 years. He always gave me time, and encouragement. Despite his hectic, big world, he read Possums weekly, and would often share a thought or insight on a post.

I pay tribute to Neil this week. He leaves a huge legacy. I’ll think of him often for the rest of my life. Here’s the most powerful insight Neil shared with me.

I was trying to work out what gives us inspiration. Then Neil wrote to me with this. “To be inspired is to ‘breathe in.’….. There’s also nothing wrong with surrounding yourself with the things, and especially people, who give you heart, even comfort. If you want inspiration, have clarity on the answer to this question…..” 

Who are the people in your life who give you heart?

It’s as simple as that. Neil’s wise counsel came at a time when I have been searching for ‘heart.’ Not sure why. My shoulders had been a little slumped, the cloud a little heavy.

‘To give you heart’ means to lift your spirits, to put a spring in your step, to give you courage, resolution, fortitude. To make you feel safe, yet excited, hopeful. Optimistic. ‘To give heart’ is not just about ‘inspiring.’ It’s more gentle, yet more powerful. It makes you feel a sense of adventure, self-belief, a desire to flirt with uncertainty. It makes you feel invincible, just for a few moments. It makes your heart literally beat a little faster, but ‘nice’ faster.

So- here are four important questions if, like me, you could do with help to give you a little heart from time to time:

Who Gives You Heart?

Think hard about who the people in your life are who make you feel the way I describe  – that when you are with them or leave them, make you feel energised. Not those who you would hope would ‘give you heart’, or you take for granted that they do, but who actually make your heart lift, your eyes rise, shoulders back, onwards!

Who Depletes You?

Now, try to identify who you spend time with who actually drain you, deplete you, suck the energy and optimism out of you. The takers. They don’t mean to. It just happens. That’s the dynamic between you two.

How Do You Spend More Time With The Energisers, Less With The Depleters?

Hard to do- I know. Often the depleters are people we love deeply, who need us, who we want to give to. That’s ok. Of course it is. But maybe some of them don’t need as much time from you. And maybe, just maybe, you need to make sure you are spending more time with those very few, rare and special individuals who give you heart. Make sure you are clear about who those people are. And take the time to lock in time with them… just as often as is fair, and as often as you need, to give you comfort, to give you heart.

We all have many, many relationships that neither deplete or energise to any great extent- they are just healthy, strong, caring, genuine relationships where sometimes they lift, sometimes they just are, and no big deal. And we can all be energising and depleting ourselves- it changes and shifts. So be it. What I am focusing on here are the extremes. Consistent depleters. Consistent, special energisers.

Are You An Energiser or A Depleter?

Last question. It’s only fair to think about yourself, and the impact you have on others. Are you an extreme- are you energising? Are you depleting? I reckon it’s fine to be both from time to time…. sometimes we need to take, sometimes give. Are we giving the best of ourselves to those who need us, and are we being fair with those we are taking from.

Vale Neil Lawrence: I know if Neil was able to have read all that has been written about him these past few days, he would have been bewildered by the tsunami of love and appreciation and also would have been quietly chuffed by it. His passing has been met with a huge outpouring of genuine grief, loss, disbelief and disappointment. He clearly touched so many people. His impact was broad and profound. He was a man of integrity, substance and positive intent. He was deeply wanted, admired, and loved. He gave hope, and was always optimistic.

Neil Lawrence certainly gave me heart. He lifted me up. I wish I’d spent more time with him. Thank you, Neil.

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15 Responses to Vale A Unique Man Who Touched Many

  1. Leonie July 22, 2015 at 10:42 am #

    Sincere condolences on the loss of your dear friend. And how fitting that your tribute serves as an uplifting message for your followers. Thank you for sharing some of Mr Lawrence for those of us who did not know him.

  2. Karen July 22, 2015 at 10:49 am #

    Gosh, so much to take from what you have written – thanks!

    • Chris Savage July 22, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

      Thanks Karen

  3. David July 22, 2015 at 11:58 am #

    Thanks Chris – never met Neil but would’ve loved to have had the privilidge. Your words and condolences struck a cord. thanks you for sharing

    • Chris Savage July 22, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

      Appreciated David

  4. Tony July 22, 2015 at 12:07 pm #

    Chris, it’s so true we all need to spend more time with people who inspire us to be the best we can be, both personally and professionally. And from that, we can then be there for the people who need us.

    • Chris Savage July 22, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

      Agree Tony.

  5. Jill Craig July 22, 2015 at 12:08 pm #

    A lovely piece. I only ever met Neil in passing as he was involved in the Kekovich Cup footy tipping – he was one of those rare people you never heard a bad word about
    and considering the industry he was interested that’s a considerable achievement. A huge loss not just for the industry but in general.

    • Chris Savage July 22, 2015 at 6:25 pm #

      Thanks Jill. Agree entirely.

  6. John Skinner July 22, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

    Sometimes there just aren’t enough words to convey the profound shock and sadness of the passing of someone like Neil, so early in their life. He had the amazing talent of distilling complex issues into simple, effective communications. He was undoubtedly one of the greats of the ad business in our country, and always such a nice guy too!

    • Chris Savage July 22, 2015 at 6:25 pm #

      Thanks John. Well said.

  7. peter suherland July 23, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

    There is alot to remember and admire about Neil…far too many to mention here. One thing’s for sure though he managed to inspire everyone around him to do the best work you could do. His time as CD at Y&R Adelaide and Y&R Sydney won a massive amount of awards and some iconic work. Thank you for those times Neil. I’m sure your’e inspiring all those people around you where ever you are right now. I’ll look up to the heavens when I step out of the office and imagine you doing just that. Miss you mate.

    • Chris Savage July 24, 2015 at 10:51 am #

      Thanks Pete. Hope all going well. Chris

  8. Peter Baker July 24, 2015 at 9:40 am #

    Great thoughts. I always admired him. He was a great talent.

    • Chris Savage July 24, 2015 at 10:51 am #

      Thanks Peter.

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