Ironically, as I set out to write about founders and CEOs who I looked up to as role models, my definition of what a role model forever changed. Perhaps it is due to a function of age or people’s health being impacted by Covid or other global changes, but recently, my life has been dominated by bad news after bad news about the health of loved ones.
Having role models has been instrumental to how I have grown to now, but my role models have only been career driven role models. Their accomplishments are distant dreams that I dare not yet dream. Witnessing it elevates the possibilities that I, too, can one day dream of such feats. Role models elevated me by giving me a goal and a roadmap.
With news of those who have been dealt one of life’s unfair blows (i.e., cancer), I am witnessing inner strength that I have never seen before. People fighting through constant bouts of sickness from chemo so that they can take care of others dealing with similar health issues. People showing a strong face for their family though they must be terrified inside. People figuring out how to go on even though they have lost loved ones recently. Many of these people have now become my role models, as I cannot fathom facing the situations that life placed upon them. It makes the challenges of a startup or the corporate world pale in comparison.
Now I am learning that role models have the effect of both elevating and grounding me at the same time. While I still want to harness the power of the business visionaries who I have looked up to since childhood, I am more attracted to learning from those who are powering through life’s cruel twists. They ground me in helping me prioritize what is important in life.
It’s equally ironic that these realizations are hitting me right as I am about to launch the e-version of a book about how to deliver at work. One of the untaught lessons that have become clear over time is that our personal and professional lives are completely intertwined. There are times when one is more important, though they often have a direct impact on one another. Success is about discovering and living that balance.
Thank you to all of the new role models in my life for demonstrating courage that is beyond admiration and for showing me how to live. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
With that, I sign off for the day so that I can spend my Sunday afternoon with my wife and kids.