Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tip#73: Leave A Good Impression - Mr. Deeds Goes To Town

How do you want to be remembered? And not just after you die but for the here and now and the effect you have on people around you. Do you want to be thought of as an unkind co-worker? Do you want neighbours to refer to you as a rude or unfriendly person? Or do you want to be remembered and thought of as someone who made a difference in other people's lives?

Honest Ed

One man who made a difference was Ed Mirvish, 'Honest Ed'. His passing on July 11, 2007 hit the news big time demonstrating that this Toronto icon had a powerful and positive effect on this city's people. The cover news of the Globe and Mail newspaper the next day said it best, "Honest Ed did more for Toronto than anyone else."

Among his many gifts to the city Mirvish created Honest Ed's, Canada's first bargain emporium with it's massive signage showcasing hundreds of light bulbs and witty slogans like "Come In and Get Lost!". He also bought and renovated the crumbling Royal Alexandra Theatre and helped create the Princess of Wales Theatre.

In the end, I related with hundreds of others who saw Mirvish for what he was at his core, a warm-hearted man who genuinely cared about his fellow man, especially those who were less fortunate. Interviews on TV with citizens of Toronto all echoed this testament. Interviews mentioned how he took the time to say hello and learn a little about who they were. Newcomers to Toronto said that sense of compassion made them feel welcomed and appreciated.

Even the people who worked for Mirvish loved him as a thoughtful boss. People were not just customers or employees to Mirvish, they were fellow human beings and that attitude left a good impression.

I grew up getting to know Mirvish's good deeds for the community. I have fond memories of my father showing me the electric signage of the Honest Ed's store as a little boy for the first time. Later as an adult I'd watch Mirvish on the TV news giving out free turkeys with a big smile at Honest Ed's every year. I also got to see a man who enjoyed celebrating his birthday publicly with the people of Toronto. He truly celebrated life and it inspired me.

Frank Capra Movies

Mirvish made me think of the classic Frank Capra movies when I think of what he did for the people of Toronto and beyond. One of my favourite movies is Mr. Deeds Goes To Townstarring Gary Cooper. Another is James Stewart in It's A Wonderful Life.These down to earth characters embodied an unshakable love and compassion for their fellow man and didn't ask for anything in return. They just naturally thought of others first. They just wanted to help others.

Synchronistically around the time of Mirvish's passing I heard stories about certain CEO's and bosses that treated their employees poorly, rudely and with little respect. Their actions will be remembered as mostly negative, hurtful and mean spirited. They could learn a thing or two from Mirvish's spirit of treating others with kindness and respect.

So now ask yourself, how do you want to be remembered? What impression do you want to leave with others? What would you like people to say about you after you've met or worked with? What legacy do you want to leave with your family or to this planet?

Your actions will define who you are. They will either create positive outcomes or consequences you'll eventually be responsible for. All you have to do is choose how you'll treat people.

Choose to make a positive impression on others. Make a difference in someone's life. And even if you never see it you'll be remembered with a smile. What goes around DOES come around. Believe that the good you put out will have a lasting affect on yourself and the souls around you.

"Be nice to people on your way up because you meet them on your way down."

Jimmy Durante

Emmanuel Lopez
Life Skills & Career Development
© Emmanuel Lopez 2007


BagelHot said...

"The only things that you can take with you are the things you give away."

The quote on the wall on the Bailey's savings and loan in the "It's a Wonderful Life" movie.

Anonymous said...

So true… and what a great loss to the community and the world that someone so thoughtful is no longer here but at least his kindness has grown in the lives he has touched so they can pass on the same positive effect.


Anonymous said...

One day someone will write these things about you.


Anonymous said...

You know this, I’m sure, but each day, we have a choice about how we’re going to live our day, either positively or negatively. Hard to keep positive thoughts sometimes, when negative things or people happen to us, but my attitude is why give them that power?

It sounds a bit trite, but we are the CEOs of our lives. No one else has that job. There may be gods, spiritual leaders and others who inspire us, but they don’t have the day-to-day responsibility. That resides with us.

Kathleen B

Anonymous said...

Emmanuel, this is a great tribute to Ed Mirvish. He was a real mensch!

David Grossman