“But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep.”
— Robert Frost
Seventy-plus years ago in the mid-1930s my father spent an evening with a group of young people in the home of Robert Frost. Periodically, Dad would recall his once-in-a-lifetime encounter with arguably America’s most-beloved poet.
I have always appreciated Frost’s work, particularly his American classic, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." If you are a Frost fan, you’ll likely recall those famous last four lines of his poem:
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep."
Frost’s elegantly crafted summary pinpoints a precise message for every person in every professional walk of life. Stopping, pausing, reflecting, preparing, steadying – these moments, when captured, acknowledged and digested, can guide one to: observe before taking the next big step; explore all alternatives before pursuing the new uncharted adventure; and resolve to be accountable to the choices of his or her action. Mission Integrity Action
Frost’s words penetrate the essence of living with intentionality. His imagery focuses on the essential rhythm of choosing our significance. Stopping to observe and placing the candid camera on your shoulder to catch yourself in the act of being you is the creative power point that propels one continually toward a life of significance.
Frost was once quoted, saying, “I’m against a homogenized society because I want the cream to rise.”
The cream of life is discovered as our personal storyline, and it weaves together two themes: intentionality and significance.
America’s ethical leaders pursue personal and professional character-shaping influence at home, at work and in the community. They take the time to stop and ask: Where am I intentionally moving with my words, my behavior and my relationships in service to others? How does this clear-seeing moment shape the road I take as a significant voice of integrity?
Passkeys Foundation/Ethical Edge ethicaledge.org