C-SUITE: THE INTENTIONAL LEADER
As I thought about what this word will mean for you, I was reminded of a trip I made with my family some years ago to Disneyland. We had just seen a beautiful show, and Disney (being the brilliant marketers that they are) had us exit the show through a gift shop where you could purchase all kinds of souvenirs from the show. There was NO WAY you were going to escape that shop, without buying some kind of trinket!
My kids were picking out what they wanted when I literally bumped into an elderly African-American gentleman, who, in a way, reminded me of my father. He was grinning from ear to ear and he was picking up bundles and bundles of gifts with an excitement and joy that I’ve rarely seen.
His absolute glee was contagious! Before I could say anything, he began to tell me his story. He said that he could not believe his eyes, that something as wonderful as Disneyland existed. He had been a coal miner his whole life, and had finally decided to take his first vacation after something like 40 years working in the mines. Through the joy, I could see the wear and tear on his body, and that his job had been hard on him.
But he wasn’t letting that stop him that day! He was happily pulling out wads of cash to buy all of his grandchildren whatever they wanted. He said he couldn’t wait to go back home to tell all his fellow coal miners that they HAD TO take some time off and come to see this magical place that would blow their minds …
I looked at him with joy, but also a little sadness. As I said, he reminded me a little of my father who was also a hard-working man before he passed away. I couldn’t help feeling a kinship with him, but I also felt very sad for him.
Because I realized that he had waited 40 years to enjoy the beauty of life. He had waited decades to step up and enjoy a big, wide world that was there waiting for him. He had waited all this time to enjoy his grandchildren and had missed precious moments with his own children. I was glad that he had this time, but also felt his loss. Beyond the joy, I could see the regrets in his eyes.
I meet many C-Suite Women each year based on my work in coaching and my charitable endeavors. Sadly, many of them are heading in the same direction as this dear man. Buried behind their desks in their quests of getting ahead, they often overlook the very underpinnings that propelled them to rise in the first place!
It may have been a supportive partner, or wanting a better life for their kids, parents etc. Whatever the motivation was, it is oftentimes overlooked as they self-actualize on the way up the ladder. The danger here is that C-Suiters may one day wake up and realize that they might have gained material success, but failed in their relationships with family and friends.
The onslaught of COVID19 is forcing everyone to step back, stay and home, and re-prioritize their agenda. It is an opportunity to re-design your life as it pertains to your career goals and how that intersects with your relationship goals as well as the legacy you want to leave behind.
Now is the time to take out your vision board and intentionally create the future that will best serve you and those you care about..
I’m so glad that this dear man got to experience that moment of joy before his death. Before that day we had never met, but in that moment when we connected, we both knew that his lost time would never be recovered.
In 2020 and especially now, I challenge you to be more intentional. live more, love more and incorporate more balance in your life.
Sharon Gill is a faith-based business coach for female leaders and entrepreneurs. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org