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Good Leaders: What outside-of-work influences shape your outlook today?

Sending Sarah and Ben away for a 9 month international honeymoon is both exciting and exhausting. So much love rushing through my veins.

Three weeks ago I wrote about feeling “overcommitted” in ways that I totally deserved. Today, I’m writing about the outside-of-work influences that affect my outlook today. Here’s why: over the course of surveying and coaching leaders on how to blend together their work and home life through the Seven Fs: faith, family, finances, fitness, friends, fun, and future – we’ve consistently seen “family” scoring the highest in satisfaction – and also in “distraction.” I’m the poster child for that these days – in a really good way.

Goodness in motion

Ten days ago, Melinda and I had all three of our children together for the Fall Music Showcase at Gustavus Adolphus College. Our youngest child, Anna, was singing her last fall concert as a senior in the Gustavus Choir. Less than one minute into their first song, I busted out into sobbing tears. Holy crap, where did that come from? Yes, I was bursting with fatherly pride. But, the raw emotion came from realizing that I was watching the passing of an era. Melinda and I both sang with the Gustavus Choir in the 1980s. And all three of our kids: Ben, Katie, and Anna also sang on the same “stage,” in the same tradition. We’ve been sharing that together for the past nine years.

Melinda, Katie, Anna, Ben, and I all sang in the Gustavus Choir. We gathered to share Anna’s last Fall Music Showcase at Christ Chapel.

Perhaps I was just tired. The night before the Fall Music Showcase, Melinda and I hosted a send-off party in our home for newlyweds Ben and Sarah. Eight weeks ago they married. And in the time since they have been whittling down their earthly possessions into three large backpacks – for a nine-month international workaway honeymoon.

Really big day

So…just four days ago, this past Saturday, we escorted them to the airport and sent them away to wander through Spain, Portugal, Morocco, India, Nepal, South Africa, and the Greek isles. It’s a dream trip that any parent would want for their children.

Then, just four hours after we said a tearful, heart-bursting goodbye to Ben and Sarah, our daughter called via Facetime to share the good news that her boyfriend, Max, asked for her hand in marriage. She held up her diamond-adorned finger on the tiny screen and grinned, “Max proposed!” Of course we were thrilled!

Just to top off a big weekend, Max and Katie got engaged.

On Sunday night, I was incapable of doing my normal weekly preparation. Melinda and I were so “happy” that we fell asleep on the sofa together watching playoff baseball. It’s all good. And it’s a lot.

Happy buzz

Even today, I’m still buzzing as texts are coming in from Spain. And, I’m realizing that tomorrow is my 31st wedding anniversary with Melinda. Holy crap, you just can’t make this stuff up. I have to finish now because I have to buy flowers (and get ready for a big day at work).

Leaders have the tendency to skip past the positives, and dwell on the negatives. I’m not immune to that part of human nature. So, I’m doing my best to savor the emotional drain that comes with so much love and joy this week.

Sarah and Ben all packed and ready for a fanciful, extravagant 9-month honeymoon.

Good leaders embrace the outside-of-work influences to help them be a more empathetic leader. And they take the time to celebrate the abundant goodness, because that’s the joy of being alive!

Please share with me: what outside-of-work influences are shaping your outlook today?

Sarah and Ben, honeymooning on the North Eastern coast of Spain.

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