I can't say I knew him very well. He was a kind of mentor in my coaching journey - and once or twice he generously spared time to give me some career advice when I sought him out. And yet he made a lasting impact on me - as I'm sure he did on many others too. What I really admired was not his corporate credentials, or his coaching prowess - but his ability to be interesting!
For it seemed as if there was no subject under the sun that he couldn't talk about, and no conversation could end without a great story around it. The width of knowledge and interests he had were truly amazing - and in the few minutes people spent recounting their experiences with PKM - we had touched upon horology, retail marketing, Aparna Sen, V.S. Naipaul, the US Consul, Nandalal Bose, Bilbao in Spain, Amundsen's polar expedition, The Paper Chase, Johnathan Livingston Seagull and lot's more..
And how did he do this?
Three bits of advice from PKM will always remain in my mind - two of them shared by people at today's memorial meeting, and a nugget he had left with me during a conversation some years ago.
One speaker mentioned that PKM apparently was a member of a 'hot air' club - a small group of friends who met occasionally and talked about, well, hot air! While it wasn't clear as to what they actually discussed, - in my mind's eye I imagined a group of friends, master storytellers all, relaxing around a table, regaling each other with fascinating anecdotes from their life experiences. These were conversations without agenda, without expectation - where discovery was serendipitous - a great story here, a gem of a learning there! One of the keys to being interesting I noted is to keep interesting company.
Another speaker recounted how PKM had told him about the importance of working a 'second shift’. By this he meant investing a few hours each day when the world was asleep, either early in the morning or late at night, in reading, listening, watching, researching, writing, thinking - and thereby enriching and expanding oneself. How many of us consciously do this I wondered?
And the third PKM-ism was something he had told me during a conversation around hobbies. (I use this one unashamedly in conversation!) He had said that a hobby was not something you did in your free time. A real hobby is just like your 'work' - except that you don't get paid for it!
To be an interesting person, one must first learn to be interested!
Thanks PKM! Rest in peace.