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Throwback Thursday: For Whom The Bell Tolls

Nov 30, 2023 6:30:00 AM

For Whom The Bell Tolls 2023

Throwback Thursday: This 2015 blog shares important reminders for the holiday season. Take some time to listen - what bells are you hearing? 

You would be hard pressed to miss the sound of ringing bells this time of year. Church bells, sleigh bells, and of course Salvation Army bells all proclaim the joy and happiness of the Season. It makes me wonder – do we all hear the same bell?

In the year 1623, English poet and cleric John Donne penned “Meditation 17” which contains the well-known phrase “for whom the bell tolls.” Ernest Hemingway actually made it the title of one of his most popular novels.

Donne wrote:

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

We are all involved in mankind, meaning we are all connected here on planet Earth. When the bell rings for any one of us, it actually rings for all of us. How easy it is to be absorbed in our own anxieties, issues, and challenges. Meanwhile, are we aware of what is going on with those around us? Aren’t their problems really our problems, too?

The bell rings loudly for me when I think about our employee-owned company at Gibson. It signals to me that we’re only doing well if we’re all doing well. Any personal challenges or frustrations pale in comparison to the strife and struggles others in my very own company are facing, much of which I’m not even fully aware.

And shouldn’t we think the same about our clients and their employees? Our suppliers and partners?

The bell also sounds when it comes to the importance of supporting community organizations whose mission it is to work with those less fortunate. I do it because I enjoy helping others. I do it because I feel I’ve been blessed and have a duty to share. But I also do it because I know our future success will depend on everyone else in our community doing well, too.

As this year comes to end, I want to challenge you to hear the many bells ringing around you.

  • In your personal life, who can you offer an empathetic ear to?
  • In your work life, where can you lend a helping hand to one of your employees?
  • In your community, what family will you bring the Joy of the Season to?

What’s The Risk?

The risk is navigating your way through life essentially quarantined from those people and things that have the potential to make your existence a little less tidy and neat. You might think by avoiding a certain neighborhood you can also avoid any responsibility to make it better. You might carefully steer conversations away from sensitive topics, just so you don’t have to deal with someone else’s pain. But in the end, you can’t. We’re all in this together.

Topics: Executive
Tim Leman

Written by Tim Leman

Tim is Chairman and CEO at Gibson. He joined Gibson in 2005 as the Director of the Employee Benefits Practice and became a principal in 2007. He was named President in 2009, CEO in 2011, and elected Chairman of the Board in 2014.

With Tim’s leadership, Gibson has been selected as a Best Places to Work in Indiana, named to Principal’s 10 Best list for employee financial security, maintained its status as a Reagan & Associates Best Practices Agency, recognized as one of 20 Indiana Companies To Watch, and named to the Inc. 5000 list. Read Tim's Full Bio