Are you focused on the ones who will Show Up?
This past weekend I attended an 80th birthday celebration for a close neighbor of ours, Bob. Attendees were both family and friends; a fairly intimate group. As he and his wife had children a little later in life, there were several young grandchildren running around and having fun, their children, and then many of their neighbors and close friends. As I gazed over the room, it made me realize how what we make of our lives really comes down to who shows up!
So what do I mean by who shows up? Well, we all seem to work our lives for a destination. Whether it be getting married and having a family, getting the kids off to school and out on their own, or saving for retirement to one day say that we are able to quit working and enjoy life, there is always an end goal. When I was at the party the other night, I realized that although these events and goals are what keep us driven and focused on achieving the next thing, the end goal isn’t really the reward, it’s the journey that we take to get there.
At the party, I ran into an old acquaintance that I’ve known for over 20 years. He is almost 25 years older than I am, yet we have shared many common experiences over the past 20 years. Our paths have crossed in business over 3 companies and several networking groups. His children, although much older than mine, have just started having families within the last 4 years. He continues to work as a consultant on a fairly full-time basis, and sees no retirement in sight for himself. Not because he needs to work, but because he sees life not as a destination, but as a journey.
Sometimes I think with our busy lives and schedules that we forget to enjoy what we have in front of us every day. I know that I am guilty of that exact thing. I’m sometimes so busy doing that I forget to just enjoy being. I’m generally a high energy person that loves to have a full schedule, but there are times, like this past weekend, that I just need to reenergize and just be. After the party on Saturday, my husband and I headed up north to enjoy some peace and tranquility at our cabin. With our two kids home for the summer, and the busy schedules that he and I both keep, it was a day that was much needed. Although it was just over 24 hours before we headed back early Monday morning, it was a day of rest and relaxation and just enjoying the day.
When I think of our neighbor Bob, who has enjoyed 80 years of life, I think of myself and wonder if I’m really enjoying the journey or spending too much time driving for the destination. When I work with business owners, and specifically those looking at succession and transition planning, one of the hardest discussions is talking about what’s next. They’ve worked all their lives to be in a position to retire, cash out, and enjoy their financial success. Yet, many of them are so stressed, so exhausted, so unhealthy that I look at the destination and ask myself, “Was it all worth it?” Yet, there are others who have the perspective of enjoying life now and realizing that life is too short that balancing work, family, and fun, are at a much higher level of priority than a growth goal.
I’m not saying there is a right or wrong to any of this, but what I am saying is that enjoying the journey and knowing that at the end of the day "who shows up” is much more important than how much money is in the bank. Enjoy the journey, work hard, play hard, and focus on the ones who will “show up,” because they truly are the ones that matter!
Jayne McQuillan, CPA, MBA, CEPA is a strategic management consultant, and the owner of Journey Consulting, LLC, in Green Bay