Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a class that taught you everything you needed to know about life and how to be a successful business person, a perfect parent, a superb spouse and everything in between? I’d sign up for that class in a heartbeat, but there is no one-stop shop that teaches us everything we need to prepare for this crazy thing called life. Life is messy and complicated. Rest assured the second you’ve gotten into a rhythm and really started to figure things out, something surprising comes along and derails you.
One thing that always seems to throw me off balance is traveling for business. It’s one thing when the travel only consists of a couple nights away, but when a quick trip turns into six or more nights, that’s when it can start to take its toll. This spring, I’ve had two big, and relatively unexpected, domestic and overseas business trips pop up. Business travel can be great for your company, but it can add an extra burden for the family back home. Those of you who travel for work can understand this sentiment. There is an immense amount of guilt leaving behind my wife and three kids, and so I always make it a point to go above and beyond for them before I leave and when I return home. It makes me feel a little more content with leaving, knowing when I return home, I’ll get to spend some extra special time bonding with the people I love most.
And going to extra mile doesn’t have to be anything expensive or extravagant, but rather a conscious effort to show appreciation to your loved ones. It’s as simple as expressing your gratitude toward those who allow you the opportunity to pursue your passions and dreams in this world, and in life.
Case in point, after my last trip, I scheduled a day for my ten-year-old daughter to come to work with me, and let’s just say – Lidia is a fantastic assistant! The night before, she was so excited. She laid out her outfits and asked lots of questions about what she would learn the following day and what she could share with her friends and teachers when she returned to school. The morning of, we bought the old fashioned paper train tickets (she wanted the experience to feel like the Polar Express), boarded the train and found two seats together for the ride into the city. Upon arriving downtown, we had an official, unofficial “breakfast meeting” at her favorite restaurant before starting the workday. Once we were in the office, it was full steam ahead with calls, emails and meetings. During those meetings, Lidia took it upon herself to help me by organizing my bookshelves by color. The top shelf was reserved for books with white covers. The second shelf was set aside for books with bright color binds; the third shelf for cool colors, and all black books found a home on the bottom shelf. She and I had so much fun bonding over business, and I’m so glad she had such a terrific time.
For my 13-year-old son Eli (hope he’s not reading this), I’m surprising him and some friends with an NBA game tomorrow before we pack up for his overnight lacrosse tournament in Indianapolis on Saturday. I know he’s going to be as excited as Lidia, and I’m looking forward to some father/son time.
As for my 15-year-old son, I’m figuring out a time that his schedule will allow for a baseball game and a one-on-one dinner. It doesn’t help that there’s still snow on the ground here in Chicago, but we are anxiously awaiting a nice spring day so we can “root, root, root for the home team.”
And then there’s my beautiful wife, Maria. She’s my rock, and without her support, I couldn’t work long hours, travel and ultimately pursue and drive Medix toward our core purpose of positively impacting lives. It is she who I owe the utmost gratitude to, and I’m hoping to find a window for us to have a long, overdue date night.
Like I hinted at before, the only certainty in life is uncertainty. The unexpected will spring up and disrupt even the most organized people. The key is to show appreciation for those who help you during the unforeseen. It’s not going to hurt anyone, and it’s an approach worth trying until someone figures out the formula for a perfectly planned life.