My second post comes early this week because my friend, Tim, died, and I am heartbroken. His sweet wife, Peggy, called with the tragic news this morning. It is such a sad day.
Tim and I were close and shared many deep conversations. For me, this made him special, but from Tim’s perspective, it made me one of hundreds if not thousands of people who felt close to him. Tim had a way of creating space for deep, meaningful conversations, and all who responded to his invitation to “pull up a chair” helplessly found themselves baring their souls to this kind, sweet man.
Tim’s favorite part of his job was counseling people, mostly students, and I was privileged to be his office neighbor for the past four months. Today, several grieving souls made a pilgrimage to the place where they shared their deepest fears and greatest dreams to a man full of wisdom and love.
Last week, Tim popped his head in my office with a new idea. He shared that his typical approach to counseling students had always been to ask about their goals and dreams, which led to all sorts of meaningful moments. But he had a new idea. He asked what I thought about a new approach that asks students about their potential instead of their dreams. He thought that just might be the better approach.
I’m not sure what I loved more, the idea itself, or the fact that this counseling maestro never stopped refining his craft. Well, what I loved more was him.
Today, after absorbing the shocking phone call and then sharing the news with his loving colleagues, I walked into Tim’s office just to feel his presence. I breathed in the spirit of the room and silently took in the sights of the pictures and books and stacks of work waiting for him this Monday morning. And in that moment I noticed a little sticky note on the side of his computer monitor with the following notes: Reaching your potential – What is it? How to get there?
I am sad that Tim won’t be able to work this new approach like a street magician, but from this day forward I will use these questions with students to tap into the magic that was Tim Pownall. I am honored that he left me this final gift to use for good before moving on.