Learn from experiences. Life, after all, is a journey. Things don’t happen in a vacuum. Everything that happens; happens for a reason. Everything that happens is relevant. There will be peaks and valleys in your life. My uncle David (my father’s brother) is fond of saying “Don’t forget to smell the flowers.” He’s right.
I am blessed. There is so much for which I am thankful. I could write an entire book about my wife Lynn, who has been CEO of our household for nearly 30 years. I could go on for hundreds of pages about our daughter Lindsey, my first born. I have said often, and I mean it: “The world is a better place with her in it.” (Lindsey has been a youth group advisor since she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2004. She has already made a difference in hundreds of lives since then.) And our son Ben is just entering the world of business as a financial analyst in NYC. A long time ago a camp counselor described Ben as a “silent leader.” I’ve never forgotten that because it is so true about him. He quietly excels in everything he sets out to do. He is a young man but already he is a role model.
Bear in mind that you simply cannot separate your business life and your personal life, really. You may feel the urge to compartmentalize things. And sometimes that is appropriate. But don’t forget to appreciate everything and everyone. Life is short. You will be tested. I will resist the temptation to get all spiritual and philosophical here but the message is a simple one. Celebrate everything. There are lots of smart people who have more ability than I do and can better articulate the meaning of existence. All I am saying is to recognize the little blessings while you accept challenges in your life. Find joy in bright stars, stunning sunsets and random acts of kindness. Laugh when you can and cry when you need too. Share with friends and family. Celebrate successes and learn from defeats and you will find greater fulfillment in your life. (That includes your career and work life too.)