Yesterday, August 5, 2014, well over 200 family, friends, employees and business partners came together to celebrate the life of Dr. Francis Jean, founder and president of IRIS, The Visual Group.
Francis Jean passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack at the age of 56 while riding his bicycle in the Canadian Rockies on July 17th. He was riding to raise funds for cancer research. I received the news of my friends passing the next morning while I was in Peru on my dream ride of South America.
Cycling became a passion as did raising money for cancer research.
I first met Francis Jean in 2001 when he “cold called” on me and wanted to discuss merging my optometric practice with IRIS, The Visual Group, at the time a Quebec based company that had recently purchased the largest retail optical company in British Columbia, where I live. I took the meeting and from the first time we shook hands I felt that I was already his friend. That friendship and a great business partnership developed over the next 8 months.
Francis Jean had a very large dream of building the largest eyecare provider network in Canada and to help Canadians experience the best vision possible. Along with this dream was a vision of how he was going to accomplish this and a plan to go with that vision. I wanted to be a part of this and jumped in completely, merging my practice with the one in Port Alberni, where I live, and purchasing 4 more locations in partnership with IRIS, The Visual Group.
Over the past 13 years I’ve learned a great deal about life and how to live it from this unique man. The most valuable lesson was that many people have dreams, fewer have a vision of how to make their dreams a reality, even fewer have a plan and the people who are living their dream do so because they’ve taken action on reaching their dream and that action is complete, without hesitation. The second most valuable lesson was that living with a purpose every second of every day is the only way to achieve success in anything and have it really mean something. This can only happen if you have a passion for living.
Society today is caught up in living long (Longevity), accumulating as much stuff as they can (Quantity) with the belief that this will give them a good life (Quality). That is a trap! The reality is that by living life with purpose and passion (Quality) the other two elements, Quantity and Longevity, have little value and are a nice bonus if they happen.
My friend, Francis, lived a Quality life and was blessed with a large group of family and friends, which he valued more then anything. While his life was short in duration, he packed more into 56 years then most will accomplish in a lifetime. My life was made richer through his example and encouragement and I will miss my friend very much.
If you have a dream, act now to make it happen because now is all you and I are guaranteed. Later may be too late.