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Good Leaders: How do you measure your own success?

Anna Mary Batz graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College this past Saturday. Melinda and I are feeling successful.

This past Saturday, June 2, 2018, our youngest child, Anna Mary Batz, graduated from college. It was one of those moments where I really felt successful. What does that even mean? By whose definition of success would I make that statement? And why is it important to “feel successful?”

Yes, my work is important, but without a doubt parenting is the most satisfying part of my life. Melinda and I share many things, but mostly we share the idea that the behaviors of our children is an important measure of our own success. It’s important to both of us that Ben, Katie, and Anna make their lives count.

Articulating success

Anna’s grandfather, Richard Moen, started our Gustavus family tradition that is still thriving today.

Anna graduated Magna Cum Laude, with Honors and a Psychological Science Major. On her big day, she was surrounded by fierce friendships, amazing classmates, and an adoring family. Anna’s grandfather, Richard Moen, started our Gustavus journey in the 1950s. Melinda and I met there in the 1980s, and our kids attended in the 2010s. The feeling of momentum felt successful.

One of my mentors, Richard Leider, is the world’s most recognized authority on the power of purpose in the lives of leaders. In one of our early conversations, he shared this transformational idea with me, which I talked about on one of our first Goodness Pays Leadership PodcastsThe day you are OK with the idea – I would be satisfied with my life if today was my last day – is the day you really start living. This morning, I am thinking of the idea: “really start living.”

If I am truly feeling successful: Am I taking enough risk?

If I am satisfied if today was my last day: Have I said “thank you” enough?

If I am proud from the momentum: Are my goals big enough?

Savoring the feeling

Our big day started in Christ Chapel, with Anna singing her last commitment with the Gustavus Choir.

During the commencement ceremony, two simple and profound pieces of advice rang in my ears – collected from a series of intimate moments with people I admire.

1. We get out of life what we put into it.

2. If we live with goodness…it goes so fast, and it just keeps getting better!

Today the satisfaction is in the unity I feel with my wife, Melinda. We reached one of our life goals – to see all our kids thrive in college. For the rest of the week, I plan to replay the music of the weekend ring in my ears: The Music of Living, The Olympic Fanfare, and Pomp and Circumstance over and over again. Because it makes me feel successful.

Good leaders celebrate the moments that make them feel successful. And they use the positive momentum to build a better future.

Please share your congratulations to Anna Batz here.

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