Thursday, September 13, 2012

Character is not a Cartoon

I am honored to have received the Faculty MVP award at the 2012 Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute! My vision going into the event was to give back to the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Admittedly, I had not participated in fraternity activity for a long while. Knowing only the benefit that fraternity life has had on my career, I left Silicon Valley and ventured to Ohio. Instead of talking to HR Professionals about employee engagement, I would be talking to college men about the benefits on their fraternal experience. I dove in and am humbled to understand that my effort was appreciated!

With every day I become more a parent than a participant. I find myself helping young people channel their energy for good. Beautifully boring, perfectly present!

Fraternities were drinking clubs in 1992 when I joined...things have changed. Character building through philanthropy and education have become the name of the game. The fraternity is now a moral foundation instead of a risk-riddled social club. Within a few hours of being in Oxford Ohio, I knew I would be learning as much as I taught.

I have always been an independent spirit. With every instruction, a question. With every conveyed virtue, an eyebrow raised. Yet, in all I have done my intent was never to hurt anyone (least of all myself). As we grow, we reflect. In our limited time we have less tolerance for tom foolery and more direct focus on producing meaningful effort.

Character is essential in finding true meaning!
There are no short cuts
The world is full of liars and cheaters...and many of them have large bank accounts. Money is just paper! I work very hard and take pride in my professional achievement but I know better than to let my career engulf me. At the moment I see disappointment in my son's face, I know it is time to shut down the lap top and give him attention. No one ever wishes they spent more time at work when on their death bed.

They are laughing at you...
I have a storied past of being a show off. I was loud and ever-active. Always willing to participate, often over-opinionated. People were always willing to cheer me on from the side lines...they were applauding my willingness to try more than the results that my effort produced. While it is honorable to be known as a person who always tried hard, I would rather do good things for the right reasons.

What will your gravestone say?
The days are long but the year's go by quickly...

We spend certain afternoons stressing over deadlines. We toss and turn at night debating our ability to put bread on the table...and none of it really matters!

All the money in the world will not replace a walk in the park with your child's tiny hand in yours. There has never been a meeting that has produced better dialog than the after-school commute. We all have a job to do, but the content matters less than the intent of your professional mission.

Are you doing the right things with the right people?
Are you honest in your approach to success?
Would your son be honored to sit at your desk?

Understand what is genuinely important and allow that intent to guide your every decision. To achieve something of true meaning is difficult! Pursue the difficult!

Don't Forget to Remember!


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