In 2008 a coaching client passed along a copy of Every Day is Game Day to a man named Charlie “Tremendous” Jones. Within a few weeks, I was conversing via e-mail with Mr. Jones, discussing his thoughts about this little book I had written. The relationship grew into telephone conversations.

I was blown away by the wise counsel I received from such an influential person whom I had never met, but who gave his time away to me so freely.

The relationship developed to the point that he invited me and my son to spend time with him at his home in Mechanicsburg, PA.

My son had never heard of Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, but after hearing about the wisdom this man had shared with me, he became excited about the trip.

Getting there was a blur. The time we were with this wonderful man will be embedded in my heart forever.

It started with a hug.

When we arrived at his home, he came out on the porch to greet us. After a congenial welcome, he opened his arms and gave us an unforgettable hug. Now, I’m a hugger, and I’ve given and received thousands of hugs in my life… but a hug from Charlie “Tremendous” Jones was unique.

At this point, some readers might be wondering, who is this man?

At the time we went to Mechanicsburg, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones was one of the most influential people in the world. He had been recognized by the National Speakers Association as one of the top twenty speakers of the 20th century. His teaching, through seminars and books, had touched countless thousands of people around the world. His book Life is Tremendous had been translated into twelve languages with over 2,000,000 copies in print.

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones is frequently quoted, and you’ve probably heard his most famous quote: “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

As you may imagine, we were very excited to hang out with someone with as much to share as Mr. Jones. On into the late evening, he imparted nugget after nugget of wisdom. There were several times that my son and I glanced over at each other in amazement.

Nothing I have shared so far has indicated the state of Mr. Jones health at the time of our visit. You see, he was very weak, to the point where he could barely speak. He had to pause after almost every sentence to regain his breath. He was gallantly fighting a battle with cancer. Yet he wanted to devote every ounce of strength he had to benefit others – right up to the end of his life.

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones gave himself away, one breath at a time.

What are you giving away?

At 4 pm, October 16, 2008, Charles Edward “Tremendous” Jones, with family at his side, triumphantly entered the gates of Heaven. We can only imagine the joy that he experienced!