It was late Wednesday afternoon. He confided in me that they didn’t have money to meet payroll on Friday. John and his partner sat down at a folding table and made phone calls round the clock through Friday, selling enough banner ads to keep their business afloat another week. John went on to sell his company for millions during the dot.com craze. He had the foresight and good timing to do it early enough for his stock to vest and to keep his fortune.

The next remarkable person I “met” was . The ex-White House Chief of Staff is in the national spotlight as he begins his . I found myself in Rahm’s orbit early in 2005. He came bursting into a meeting with a conference room full of Pro-Israel activists. They had deep pockets and a history of supporting democratic congressional candidates.  In less than ten minutes, he finished his business, shook hands with everyone present, and left. I was literally breathless. His energy was physical— powerful, as if he had an electric fence surrounding him.

The third remarkable person I’ve encountered is our President, . I met him early in his political career, in a crowded living room in north suburban Chicago. I saw him following his U.S. Senate election in a library on Capitol Hill, and I was seated back to back with him at a fund-raising event for his presidential campaign. That last meeting was my favorite. I was sitting at a round table listening to the speaker. Scratching an itch, I literally bumped my elbow into Barack’s back. He turned around and I whispered, “When did you sneak in?” He smiled that small smile of his and squeezed my shoulder.

My point is: there is something different about these guys that you don’t see in everyone else. Watching the movie about founder , made me realize what it is that I find so remarkable in John, Rahm, and Barack– intensity. They all have super powers of  single-minded purpose, so intense, that they make exceptional things happen. It’s a challenge for us “mere mortals” to find the balance between being driven and driving others away. When we pursue whatever it is that is our passion; may our intensity be tempered with good intention.


I praise You for:
My purpose,
My passion,
My partner,
My people,
My portable peace,

Your perfection experienced.

For purpose gives direction.
Passion unleashes my gifts.
My partner, life meaning
My people, a heritage
My portable peace is
Your grace unequaled.

-Ruth Williams


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