“What do you suppose makes an 89-year-old man want to keep working like this?”
I wondered this recently as my wife and I sat in the historic State Theater in Minneapolis waiting for Tony Bennett to take the stage.
It’s pretty remarkable if you think about it.
He has been recording and performing music for 65 years. He’s sold millions of records and probably earned millions of dollars from it. He is an American legend. He has money, fame and success most of us could only dream of.
Yet he keeps on working.
Last year he performed 70 live shows around the world. And this year he is planning to record a new album with Lady GaGa. What motivates this devotion to his audience?
The lights went down and I got my answer.
I watched him thrill the audience for two hours as he poured his heart into each song. It was a marvel to witness the power and passion in this performance from a man his age. It was more than anyone could have expected.
Then, as if to accentuate the point, he outdid himself with the encore.
He set down his microphone. The audience went silent. Then his unamplified voice filled the auditorium with the song “Fly Me To The Moon.” The last line was his parting message to every person in the audience: “In other words, I. Love. You.”
In that moment each of us understood why he was there. It wasn’t for the money. It wasn’t for the fame and adulation. It was because Tony Bennett has a higher purpose behind his work. It is to create beauty and share it with the world. And he delights in giving more than is expected.
As a result he has been rewarded for it.
When you give more than is expected to your customer you get more than a one-time transaction. You build a legacy of loyalty that can reward you a hundredfold. What is your higher purpose? What value are you creating that inspires people to follow you?