Given the speed of life and how everything happens around you from all directions, I find it hard to concentrate. But once in a while something falls from the sky, and you are able to stare at it a bit. And appreciate it. You then can remember why everything matters.
Last week while I was in NY, I had dinner with someone who I could never really forget. It was maybe over five years ago, and at more than a few events. She stood out in the crowd -- not a tall person or anything like that. But just her attitude and fearlessness stuck with me. So when I got to have dinner with her husband, I felt lucky to learn more about the experiences in her life that made her who she was. To make a long story shorter, because I know we’re all quite busy, even though I want to stay in this moment, we were talking about how she was about to have her first child. My first reaction was a, “Well, having one child is often advantageous because its a lot less stressful than having many.”
To which her immediate reaction was, “No. I want another. Because my father recently passed. And I couldn’t imagine how life would be if I didn’t have my siblings there so that I could make it through that experience emotionally. I wouldn’t want my child to be left alone after my husband and I passed. I couldn’t stand to do that to him/her.” To think that long and far out. That was a special thought. One of love not just for being in the moment with your child, but the love for one’s child’s entire lifetime until even after you are gone. It was so well articulated, that I felt grateful to see things a bit differently.
I hope this little smidgen of thought is useful to you too -- whether you have children or not. It speaks to what I think leadership is all about -- keeping things going well after you are gone. Caring well after you are no longer there. Knowing the responsibility of what you’ve started so that it really isn’t about you -- but about what they might achieve. -JM
Copyright 2009 - 2016, John Maeda