I’ve been looking forward to writing this post ever since I began the blog in September. Our daughter is getting married soon so I couldn’t help but think back to a time over twenty years ago when she was only 4 years old. At the time I was a sales manager and my salespeople were scattered everywhere so I was on the road every week for at least 3 days.
The particular Tuesday that comes to mind was cold (0 degrees), snowy (8 inches on the ground and more coming) and windy (25-30 mph). The airport was open and flights were leaving on time. I normally left before anyone was up but this Tuesday my flight left at 9:30 so my wife, son and daughter were all up. I had packed the night before so I was ready to rock and roll. I walked downstairs to say goodbye to our 4 year old.
She was at her play kitchen doing what she did best-pretending to serve her closest imaginary friends heaping cups of tea. Tea parties were her specialty after all! I took the luggage off my shoulder and knelt down to give my sweet-pea a good-bye kiss. As I stood up she said to me, “daddy, don’t go. Stay and have a tea party with me.” Those 11 words brought a grown man to his knees! What can you say to a curly-haired little blonde tyke who doesn’t know anything about business, sales, commission checks, jobs etc.? What you say is “OK, sweet-pea, I’ll leave tomorrow instead.” And that is exactly what I did. Tell me if I’m wrong but I think this is stopping to smell the roses.
Why do I bring this little bit of nostalgia up? We live in a complex world where we, as business people, commute, fly, go to meetings, talk endlessly on the phone, prepare budgets, hire people, start businesses and generally spend enormous amounts of time making the money necessary to eat, buy homes, vacations and retirement. There is pressure, joy, frustration, worry squeezed into every day. When all this stuff begins to take a chunk out of your soul it will be time to think about what is more important than the job. Family is more important. It will always be more important! And who was my mentor on this topic? My 4 year old sweet pea!
The Final Thought: Have fun in your command. Don’t always run at a breakneck pace. Take leave when you’ve earned it. Spend time with your families. Colin Powell.