I recently had the opportunity to attend the opening of a dear friend’s new real estate development project; an extremely high-end apartment building at 8500 Burton Way in Beverly Hills, California.
To say it was absolutely stunning would be an understatement; 8500 Burton Way’s inauguration established itself as the ‘it’ address for luxury-living in the greater Los Angeles area.
Everything about the place (and the event party) was top-drawer and thought out, celebrating a discerning palette and its peerless attention to detail.

My friend, Rick Caruso, gave a few remarks to the very impressed crowd of about 100 attending. He, as with all the other members of his company’s team, dressed with an excellence — harmonious with the project.

As I sipped on a fabulous drink in a fabulous glass with big fabulous ice cubes, it was Rick’s two-minute words to the audience that has stung me for days.

He congratulated all the involved parties, acknowledged some dignitaries in the crowd.  Then he said that his team decided that if they were going to build an apartment building, they’d only do it if they could create the finest apartment building in Southern California. He said they did their homework, put together a team befitting of the task, and got to work.

He said he was proud they created what they set out to do.

Doesn’t seem that profound.

But it was to me.

It was what he didn’t say – that has taunted and scratched at me since then.

What he didn’t say, out of humility and as a gentleman, was that every single tile in that building was a mirror of the excellence he demanded of his career – and of every person in his company.

The building, the waitresses, the sound when the elevator doors opened — was a reflection of him and of his focused team.

His point was if you’re doing it, why wouldn’t you do it right?  You’re either jumping over your bar or you’re not.  And if you’re not jumping over your bar now, when are you?

He made me ask myself… What is my “8500?”

What am I creating in my life that uniquely expresses my perspective?  My vision?  My voice?

What will I give to the world that celebrates the joy of how lucky we are to be alive?  To be in America.  To have woken up smack in the middle of the most exciting and provocative and ever-evolving moment in time in the history of our species – and our planet?

How am I saying thank you for this opportunity?  This gift?

One thing I’m sure of.  

Whether we’re rich or broke, in a great job or out of work, whether we’re a baker, or a coal miner, or an executive, or a school teacher; whether we’re single, or married; whether we’re 18 or 88 – we can build an 8500 in our lives.

And it doesn’t have to be a building.  We can start small.  It may be in the way we treat a stranger.  Or in the way we look in the eyes of our spouses.  Or in the way we say ‘no’ to all the sirens in our lives that lure and anesthetize and seduce us to ‘settle.’  To put it off till tomorrow.

One thing has become clear for me.

Yesterday’s tomorrow is here.

As I’m writing this, I just looked down at my shoes.

I’m going to go upstairs and get out the polish and a brush — and work my way up.

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