An amazing reception for my retirement yesterday. There were four speeches before me and I started to think that I had shown up at the wrong retirement event. They must be talking about someone else!
Humbled, honoured, thankful.
Anyway, here is my retirement speech.
For Delivery, July 18th at 2:00pm
Thank you for all the kind wishes and wonderful comments.
I am indeed a very, very fortunate man. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, an amazing family, good friends, and, clearly, the best looking team of colleagues in the world!
My life, your life, is not defined by a state of working or a state of retirement.
Our journey in life is defined by our relationships with each other, by themes of love, family, faith and self-acceptance.
I was taught at an early age that there several stages in life:
A time to learn.
A time to work.
A time to retire.
And so I went to school. I got a job. And now I retire.
Although I do worry a little bit about the stage after retirement.
I’d like to share a few thoughts with you about what makes for a fulfilling career. Lessons that I have learned over the past 40 years or so.
Three words to remember: mission, mastery, freedom
Let’s start with mission.
Everyone here in this room has the talent and capability to create a great life for yourself, for your family and for your community. And everyone here in this room can make our company an even better company in the future than it is today.
It starts with answering one very basic question:
Why are you here?
Having a higher purpose, a mission, a cause that you believe in will make all the difference to you and to your career. You will know, that in some way — large or small — you have made our company a better place because of your work.
Have you ever experienced a moment where your life was changed forever?
It happened to me when I was 16 years old.
I lived in a small house in Lachine, Quebec that was built just after the second world war. My father had been battling cancer for several years and all I knew was that he was very, very sick. But I thought that he would make it. That he would come home from the hospital.
I can remember the telephone call as if it happened yesterday. It was early. 6AM. My mother answered the phone and all I heard was her screaming and crying.
Dad was gone.
He left no will. He had no insurance.
We were left with nothing. We had to sell the house and my mom and I had to find jobs to make ends meet. Life was very hard during those years after his death.
I made a commitment to myself that when I grew up, got married and had a family, that I would provide well for them. To make sure they were protected and to be financially secure if anything happened to me. That was the core part of my mission in life.
And that is why I believe so strongly in our company.
We help Canadian families with their financial security. We help Canadian families build wealth. Our promise to them is simple, fast and easy. We have a great company whose underlying mission you can believe in. A company that makes a difference in the lives of the people we serve.
Why are you here?
What is your mission?
When you know why you come in to work everyday, you have a mission. And that mission you will carry you throughout your life. That mission will be your anchor when you face challenges and it will be your reason to celebrate your accomplishments.
After mission there is mastery.
Getting better and better at the skills and talents that you use in your work leads to mastery. People will see you doing great work and great work always gets rewarded. Always.
But it is not just about getting better at what you do. It is about helping others to get better at what they do.
Keep learning. Keep developing. Keep pushing yourself to get better at the things you really love doing. And then one day it will happen. You will become a Jedi Master. Every Jedi Master must take on an apprentice.
And then you get to help someone else get really, really good at what they do. That is the true reward of mastery.
Mission, mastery, freedom.
And I don’t mean Freedom 55.
When you have a mission and you get really good at what you do, you will have freedom. The freedom that comes from being passionate about your work and why you do what you do. The freedom that comes from being really, really good at your work and helping others to be really, really good at their work.
Suddenly, your career becomes part of who you are. It does not define you. You define your career.
There is one final thought that I would like to leave with you.
I am more and more convinced, having gone through many different passages in life, that the things I value most are the warm, caring relationships I have with the people who have passed and are passing through my life. These things are eternal and the rest is like dust before the wind. These relationships are the things to value and so I strongly encourage you to measure your success in this life by the quality of care you give to those around you. We need to be friends. We need to take an active role in the people who pass through our lives. We need to care, to trust, to support and to cherish our family and our friends.
I am grateful and thankful for the support of my family. I am grateful and thankful for the support of the leadership of our company.
I cannot adequately express the gratitude that I have for my amazing team and my wonderful colleagues.
All I can say is thank you for this incredible journey. I will carry many wonderful memories of our time together.