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My Turn, Steve Fisher: Mr. Paul’s recipe for life

By Steve Fisher

For over half a century I had the opportunity to observe the daily habits of a highly effective leader — my dad Paul E. Fisher. That opportunity was a gift that I do not take lightly. The lessons learned from that experience are lessons that I feel a responsibility to share with others.

And it never hurts to remind myself. I still have a lot of practice ahead of me.

We each have our own unique style and approach to life, but there are a few simple truisms that are universal and adaptable to almost every perspective. Spending time with Mr. Paul over these past five decades helped me to see the critical elements of life: joy, fulfillment and impact stripped down to their foundational beginnings. Surprisingly, those lofty goals of human existence (joy, fulfillment and impact) have simple and humble roots.

Although Mr. Paul never analyzed or articulated his “recipe” for life in this way, there are three things I observed him do constantly that provided the opportunity for joy, fulfillment and impact in his life.

No. 1: Show up

Nothing happens if you don’t show up. Simply be there and be present — even when you don’t want to, don’t feel like it, are scared, aren’t prepared or don’t have time, etc.

Show up for your family, your teammates, your friends, your community and your country. It’s a very simple concept, but it is the most critical one because nothing ever happens if you don’t show up. Deep down, we all want to be that friend, that neighbor, that co-worker, that family member, that citizen … that shows up.

No. 2 Find a way to be useful

What did God put us here for if not to be useful to one another? This is why we have hands and feet and brains and eyes and ears and mouths … to be useful. It doesn’t matter if the task is simple or complex, take your talents and be useful. The world is full of bystanders, complainers, free loaders and “no-shows.” Simply get your hands and feet dirty and be useful.

No. 3: Love, with all your heart!

This includes romantic love, but more importantly it includes basic human love for one another. That is where true joy, fulfillment and impact happens and where love transforms into a willingness to act on behalf of others with no expectation that your kindness will be returned. Put your heart out there, out front and let it lead the way.

Yes, this path comes with risk, but without risk, there is no reward. (Sounds like something an ol’ banker would say!) Dare to love. The failures will be epic, but the victories will be glorious. Love is the most powerful element of the human condition. Don’t stockpile it, use it and spend it with reckless abandon like currency. And if it knocks you flat, dust yourself off and go back to step No. 1. Show up, find a way to be useful and love (again).

You see, life is as simple as 1, 2, 3. Let the countdown begin.

Steve Fisher is F&M Bank chairman and CEO.

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