During my yearlong journey of gratitude, some five years ago, I traveled around the United States and abroad to meet with 44 people who have been very important in my life. During these visits I was very explicit in my expressions of deep appreciation for all that they had done for me. It was not only a gratifying experience but I also imagined that I would never have any regrets in the future for things I wish I had said when any of these 44 individuals pass on.
One of the 44 on my journey was Dr. Fred Jervis. He was an extraordinary human being and no one taught me more about a way of thinking than Fred. He was a real life changer for me and for many of the people I have coached over the years and for thousands of others.
As a student at the University of New Hampshire, he played varsity baseball and basketball. His education was interrupted by war. As a lieutenant in the 11th Armored Division, he lost his sight in a mine explosion in Germany. Notwithstanding, Fred completed his education at UNH and earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University. He served as Director of the Counseling Center at UNH and then as Professor of Psychology. He also completed a post-doctoral fellowship in organizational theory at Harvard Business School. Fred left academia after 20 years to found the Center for Constructive Change in Durham, along with his wife, Janis. The Center provided educational and consulting services to a wide array of individuals and entities and I was blessed to be one of them.
It is not possible for me in a short piece to adequately express how much this man meant in my life. When I visited with him in his home in New Hampshire in 2009, I was able to more fully express the specific ways that he impacted my life. It was so gratifying to have made this opportunity.
At the time, I both perceived and imagined that when Fred passed away that I would not have any regrets for things I wish I had expressed to him.
Sadly, Fred passed away last week. I indeed felt no regrets for anything I might have said. It reconfirmed what I had previously imagined and perceived and it was very reaffirming indeed. Losing someone who has been very special in your life is always difficult and sad but to not have any regrets for things you might have said makes this passing less painful.
It is with this new “reality” that I encourage each of you to express your gratitude while everyone is alive and well.