Tell us about the time you threw down the gauntlet and drew the proverbial line in the sand by giving someone an ultimatum. If you’ve never handed out an ultimatum but secretly wanted to, describe the scene and what you would say to put an end (one way or another) to an untenable situation.
I hate to use ultimatums unless there is a certainty the person will refuse it (So why use them, right?). Ultimatums seem so inflexible. Yet there is often times an insincerity about them. Who wants to deal with insincerity? But if sincere, it’s hard to deal with a person who seems unreasonable and inflexible. Ultimatums usually mean it’s my way or no way.
Here is a story about Brandon who could have lived his life by issuing ultimatums, but chose not to.
It had been a long search for Brandon, but at last there he was; his father. Not at all the man he remembered. Brandon’s mind flashed back to the times he was at his father’s side and could not wait for his car to drive up in the driveway every day; that was when daddy was home.
Suddenly daddy left. He just never returned. Brandon’s mother said that he was a rolling stone; he was never the type to settle down, take life serious, or be responsible for anything.
Brandon was now 40 making his father around 65.
Brandon wanted to do nothing more than tell his father how much he loved him and for what ever reason he left no explanation was necessary.
Brandon moved close to the old man tending a garden that sat beside a small motor home perhaps old as Brandon. The old man suddenly jerked as Brandon’s footsteps crunched the gravel beneath his feet.
“What can I do for ya?” he said.
“I’m Brandon, Daddy,” Brandon said.
“If this had been five years ago,” he said surprised. “I’d be reaching for a drink.”
“I just wanted to see you,” Brandon said. “And know that you’re all right.”
“Strange,” he said. “You’d think that’s something I would be doing.”
“It doesn’t make any difference,” Brandon said. “I just wanted to tell you how much you meant to me.”
“You got to be kidding,” he said. “I left, kaput! Vanished into thin air. All I was, was what I left behind. If I stayed you‘d turned out like me. But look at yourself; you carry yourself well, ya got a nice car, and I bet you‘re a good dad.”
“I’ve done okay,” Brandon said.
“Okay,” he said. “Your Brandon Sellers; everybody’s heard of you. The only thing I ever did for you was help in conceiving you at the right time. If Rockefeller would have been a year later somebody else would have stepped in front of him. You came along as the internet was being developed and you took advantage of it. I’m proud to have had a pleasurable, but small part.”
“Quit trying to turn me away,” Brandon said. “I know that’s not who you are. You loved me then and you love me right now as I do you. Nothing will ever separate us.”
He let drop the hoe and walked to the end of a row of tomatoes and sat in a lawn chair shaded by a maple tree. He removed his hat and wiped the sweat from his brow.
Brandon moved closer and knelt beside him. “I just want to see you, Daddy. That’s all.”
He looked out over the garden not allowing Brandon to see the tears slowly stream from his eyes. “I’m glad you’re here. I wished you had more to come to. This place ain’t much, but it’s better than where I’ve been the last 38 years.”
“Last week I spoke at Harvard,” Brandon said. “They wanted me speak on who was my mentor. I didn’t even have to think about it. I talked about you. I told them there was not a day that went by that I wasn’t reminded of you. I have a plaque on the wall in my office. It used to hang in the basement of the house where I started my company. It says, ‘Do the things you don’t want to do when you don’t want to do them and when nobody else wants to do them.’ Do you remember telling me that, daddy?”
“Yeah, son,” he said. “I remember.”
“Do you remember when you told me to do that?” Brandon said.
“No, but I remember telling you,” he said.
“You told me that when I didn’t want to weed the garden,” Brandon said. He stood and walked toward the garden. “This garden won’t weed itself.”