The Mastery That is Darrel Sutton

This is a speech that was written and given by me as a tribute to my Father in January of 2016 for his 47 years in his business: B.G.E. Service and Supply Ltd., The Filter Shop. This speech remains to this day, the best writing I have ever completed, in my opinion. I knew that it reached the intended audience by the observation of a tear being wiped off his face with the table cloth and his comment afterwards: “Can I use some of that?” He almost lived to see his 50th anniversary with the company he founded and loved. I will celebrate his 50th anniversary on October 8, 2018.~Kelly Vass

When I was asked by my sister to say a few words on our behalf to honour my Father, I was both honoured and completely overwhelmed. How do I describe my Father? What came to mind was M&M. Now you may think this refers to one of his favourite candies; it does not. Magical and Mastery came to mind. I do not believe in coincidence and I know that it is no accident that Brendon Burchard’s book The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power found me at this same time. As I read this book, it struck me how in each lesson, I could find an example of how Darrel exemplifies each declaration.

Brendon Burchard states that “we are all meant to be wild and independent and free, our hearts filled with a ferocious passion for life. The day is meant to be ours, and our purpose within it is to live as who we truly are and enjoy the full terrain of life’s freedom as we chase our own meaning and purpose, our own legacy.”

Darrel Sutton is a wildly independent man who has created personal freedom by being passionate about his desires. When he tells you about his day, he makes the most ordinary happenings feel like the best adventure. Every single day, he is motivated to chase his desires and create his legacy; no is not a word he accepts or if he does hear it, he sees it as the challenge it is, to persuade otherwise. There is a confidence in his vision and he is patient with figuring out how to make it happen. If it is a desire of his heart, he will create a way to achieve it.

Now to say that he is without fear would say that he is not human. Darrel has always had the intelligence and optimism to reframe fear into useful motivation to act and succeed. The following quote feels like it was written about Darrel “The tools to manage the difficulties of life are within. Perhaps we can imagine ourselves actually enjoying the struggle versus fearing it.”

Burchard writes that “The mother of motivation is choice”. Darrel’s whys, his reasons for action, and the resulting freedoms have always propelled him forward. Driven by the expectation of the ambitious vision of the end result, he did not worry about the how. Mike Dooley talks about setting your GPS for the destination and leaving the how up to God. For the most part Darrel does this while taking small guided action steps. What he does not do, is turn around and give up on the destination 5 minutes before arriving. He is persistent in his passion and he has a deep faith in himself. To say that he is creative is an understatement. He has an understanding of the English language that creates art and inspires; now if you are a slave to another moment besides the present, you may find yourself impatient but if you are able to come back to the now or to his story, you will be receiving the gift of a lost art: the oratory. Darrel values self-mastery and he is always working towards it. Brendon punctuates this by stating “the great artists, leaders, and innovators use the entire force of their reasoning faculties to become their highest selves and do their highest good. They express who they truly are and pursue goals that are meaningful. They strategically contemplate their direction and values; they weigh what will give them the greatest sense of vibrancy and fulfillment in major decision. They select from life’s abundant array only the courses that suit their nature and their intention to be free and to serve. They are resolute in calling forth their greatest character traits and wrestling with their lowest impulses into submission. They appear, in the eyes of the mindless masses, to be the lucky ones, the chosen. In fact, they decided to choose.” Darrel has indeed decided to choose to be conscientious and purposeful in order to energize and lift his life and the lives around him. Darrel has always spoken in a way of feeling he must and knowing he could. Darrel holds a deep feeling of responsibility to not only his own family but all is employees and their families; he worries about them and cares about them and always has. Burchard believes that “people are influenced most by those they trust, admire, and believe care for them.” Darrel has and continues to influence many.

Burchard declares: “Let it be clear to all: Greatness belongs to those who have mastered the ability to focus relentlessly on their ambitions and act decisively toward them.” Darrel does this. His passions and loves outside of work re-energize him to sustain his motivation. He has chosen to have people around him that he enjoys, interest him, and that he has fun with. He loves his wife who puts a capital L on Loyalty and a capital A on action. Please know that Darrel and Dorothy’s greatness is intertwined; they have lovingly and competitively soared together supporting and propelling each other. A visionary requires someone to keep them accountable, to believe in them, to believe the dream is possible, and to assist in executing, otherwise some of the dreams and ideas get left behind. Not many have been left undone by Darrel and Dorothy. From the outside, their accomplishments appear easy. Roberta and I have both witnessed first hand what this dynamic dual is capable of and all the intricate details and complicated pieces from start to finish. Life feels magical and magnified when we bear witness to their creativity.

Darrel meets life with full presence and power. In every moment he seems to serve something greater than himself as a leader and a teacher. He believes in the improvement of quality of life. He believes clean air can be achieved for all. He believes that all those who require dialysis can receive it. He believes that all are deserving. He believes in beauty and light. He believes in serving a higher power. He believes in the value of generosity. He believes in the gifts from the past, present, and future. He believes that he shares the responsibility for the betterment of the world. He believes in the value of hard work. He believes in lending a helping hand. He believes in having fun. Burchard says that “we must learn to live in reverence to the moment and all we have been given by it and all we choose to give to it.” Darrel truly does have a respect and reverence for the present moment and impatience with anyone who wants to dwell in a past unchangeable moment.

Darrel reclaims his agenda and masters each day. He knows where and how he wants to spend his time, whether it is at the lake, The Filter Shop, Point Roberts, or adventuring with Dorothy. He knows what is meaningful to him and he does it. This does not mean that he is not challenged at times with other people’s conflicting agendas, desires, or ambitions; he chooses not to act like a victim and he moves toward what he wants. Dad, I am certain that your love of sailing and 18 years of experience, will resonate with this quote by Brendon: “Each day we have a choice to go with the wants and whims of the world or to chart our own course.” It has been inspiring bearing witness to all the courses you have charted, Dad.

To self master is to defeat our demons. Brendon states that it is “the lack of certainty, activity, and humanity that derails our destiny.” I have seen Darrel battle these time and time again. What I have learned is that, it is always little actions that propel him forward. I remember him saying to me once when I was at a crossroads “Kelly, life is about learning and trying new things until we find what moves us forward.” Darrel has a huge capacity for love, compassion, generosity, kindness, humour, and genuine love for the humanity in all of us. Brendon writes in reference to great people of history “In many ways, they are just like us: They worried. They procrastinated. They sometimes had lower opinions of their fellow human beings. But what made them celebrated, what pushed society forward, what gave birth to their legend, was their sheer will to overcome such impulses and to faithfully, actively, and lovingly fight for a better life for themselves and others.” I think that this can be summarized by one word that Darrel possesses: courage.

Darrel has always advanced with abandon, believing that reality could be bendable to his will and the way to do it is positive action. The reality is, at the time that Darrel was starting his career and perfecting his competitive curling many would have felt forced to choose work over curling. Darrel bended that reality to include both. He spoke about filtration at the curling rink and he spoke about curling with interested customers. As his curling improved and he got known for it, his sales increased. Darrel always has and to this day will service friends and acquaintances’ homes with a quality furnace filter. It would be interesting to know how many accounts became B.G.E. accounts from this act of service being shared by word of mouth. Darrel has never asked permission from anyone other than himself; as much as this can be frustrating for those living closest to him, it is a secret to his success as he has never needed the approval of others to move forward. Darrel has a belief in abundance and that anyone is capable of creating it, including himself. One of his greatest gifts is giving people something to believe in and an acceptance that the struggle is part of the growth and achievement. Brendon’s quote to exemplify this: “No longer shall we wait for permission, proper timing, or ease in rapidly progressing our lives. Let us go now. We have work to do, influence to gain, service to render, power to share, freedom to achieve for our loved ones.”

Darrel practices joy and gratitude daily. Darrel is joyful when he connects with music, people, nature, and animals. Darrel has a strong bond with pets and we have many fond memories of him with Toby. I see him joyful in his faith. He tends to retell only funny and joyful stories from the past. He has an appreciation and gratitude for beauty. He loves photography and he believes that the IPad is the best invention ever for capturing pictures and video. When he is listening to music on his IPod there is a smile on his face and his body is swaying. Every sorrow in his life he has turned into gratitude and joy and creating good. He has the wisdom to know that there is no appreciation or joy if there has never been struggle or sorrow. Darrel chooses every day to engage in life. Most moments, he chooses happiness. Brendon states that “The joyous masters know that amid all the chaos, and conflict, all the hurry and wickedness of the world, there is something solid within, that is beautiful and steady and good.” Anthony William states that there is a strong trust in life that comes from seeing a sunset and the awareness that the sun does always rise the next day. Darrel has paid attention and photographed many a sunset. It is as though he gets, how blessed we are to live where we do.

Darrel chooses integrity over temptation. Do not let his quick wit, good sense of humour, and charismatic personality fool you. Darrel has an internal compass that he stays true to. He is a man of character.

Darrel amplifies love. To quote David Bowie “The greatest thing you will ever learn is to love and be loved in return.” Anyone who has experienced Darrel’s loving and compassionate nature has been truly blessed. He truly does want more for those around him then himself. He gives as much as he gets. I know that it is probably very difficult for you to receive these words, Dad as you are usually focussed on others. Dad you are so loved and you inspire greatness by being you. Who you are in this world has made and continues to make a fantastic difference. Thank you for your commitment to your passions! Life loves Darrel Sutton as much as Darrel Sutton loves life!

Being blessed to call you Father, I always feel that time has a way of slowing down when in your presence. You have a gift of being very present and engaged. When you would come home, you would share your days with us but you always had a way of letting us know that it was in the past even when solutions were being offered. You had a deep concern for your B.G.E. family and their extended families. About 15 minutes into supper time was all you needed to shed the stresses of the day and tune in to us. We know that you spent a lot of time away at work and curling and I want you to know that we always felt loved. You would often come home and then after we were in bed head back to work. Now, being a parent myself, I know how difficult it must have been for Mom and you to balance this and I know that Mom did a lot of single parenting. We always knew we were loved and we always felt that we got the best of you! Thank you for bringing the fun and the magic of Grandpa Darrel to my nieces and my children. Thank you for your acceptance, inclusion, and love for your son-in-laws! Thank you for teaching us the way through mentorship; it works! To quote Brendon Burchard one final time for this evening “Life is lived in the extra beats we hold as time unfolds. Soon, the two beats become four, the four become eight, and eventually we will have mastered the art of experiencing life, of feeling who we are and where we are on our path to greatness, of creating real moment, of living as joyous masters in the infinite and divine Freedom of Now.” Thank you Dad for all the moments! We love and appreciate you!

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