Life and time are immensely precious commodities and ones that we need to manage wisely and with purpose. Hugely cliché start to this post but the (reinforced) realization comes with the passing of a former colleague's 13-year old son just this week. This young man was certainly taken far too early from this earth and comes less than year after his diagnosis with DIPG which is an aggressive, cancerous brain tumor that afflicts children. Through the immense dedication of his parents and a tremendous community of family and friends, this boy was provided with a host of wish list opportunities (e.g., skydiving, epic nerf war, NFL game at Wembley Stadium) that could make any of us green with envy - save for the foundational and challenging reason for doing so.
And perhaps if this were the only reminder of the need to stay focused on the truly important things in life one might be tempted to lament fate, bless God for one's own reasonably good health and that of my family, and move on. Alas that has not been the case. Add the sad story above to the loss of a 38-year old mother of two young children to lung cancer back in February of this year. Add the sad story of the loss of an otherwise fit 42-year old to cardiac complications arising from contracting the flu just over a year ago. Add the sad story of 40+ year old single mother of one just recently diagnosed with breast cancer in the past month. The list, unfortunately does go on and does not include the challenges being faced by aging parents. Nor does it include individual health "alerts" that have been experienced in my own household of late.
Many of you may also know more of my own personal story of loss dating back to 2007 when I also lost my first wife suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 42 leaving me a single parent of a beautiful 6-year old daughter.
Why bring these stories out within what is supposed to be a leadership blog? Because leadership has to be framed within the context of the big picture of LIFE. Because leadership has to be focused on more than just the next 5-year strategic plan. Because from my view there cannot be and is not any artificial separation between work and home, business and life. Hopefully most of us do work to live versus living to work. That we take time out NOW, even in the midst of all of our responsibilities (e.g., car payments, mortgage, tuition, business meetings, hectic business travel, etc.) to enjoy those around us, to have them enjoy our company and experience what the world has to offer. And hopefully it doesn't take the pressure of a terminal diagnosis or the sudden loss of a loved one to focus on our attention on the truly important things in life.
At various points since 2007 I have tried to keep this admonition in mind. I was extraordinarily blessed to find a new best friend, remarry and experience the wedding of the century (yes I said that), go on a first class honeymoon cruise in the Mediterranean, complete two Ironman Canada triathlons, bring two more daughters into this world, take my now 18-year old daughter to Paris/Europe for her high school graduation gift, run the Berlin Marathon with my wife in 2018 and now plan to run the Venice Marathon in October 2019.
Do I sometimes worry about my business, the expenses, how my retirement fund is shaping up (or not)? Absolutely. But more often than not I now find myself more worried about the experiences I might be denying myself and my loved ones by not living life to its fullest - and that too is a legacy of those who have passed from our earthly sight far too quickly.
It is all about leadership - and how we choose to lead our whole life.
Greg Hadubiak, MHSA, FACHE, CEC, PCC
President & Founder - BreakPoint Solutions