28 Jul Fleeting

IMG_7296For the past month, I have had the opportunity to really step back and evaluate three important questions.  Where am I?  Where am I going?  How will I organize my ongoing journey?  For me, I find time away actually to be difficult work.  It’s hard for me to step back, slow down, and really clear my head.  I was really hoping I’d be able to hit a switch where the absence of the maelstrom would allow all sorts of insights to instantly flow into my head so I could just as quickly process it into new found wisdom.  It just doesn’t work like that, and the irony is that the unrealistic expectation was stressful.

I would define where I am simply as grateful.  I have a loving wife of 29 years, two great kids chasing their dreams, and now two beautiful grandchildren.  Both my parents are still alive, and I can still climb mountains.  I also find myself taking on the CEO role at a great organization full of opportunities.  It’s an honor and a privilege to be asked to serve in a senior capacity.  The acceptance of the role has helped to narrow the focus of my many business interests, and I look forward to applying everything I have learned in various leadership roles over the past thirty-plus years to the benefit for those I serve.

As for the destiny, I have come to realize that very few people are actually happy where they are.  They long for something in the future that will make them happier, more fulfilled, and settled.  I can only think of two people who are actively engaged in their professional lives, and not looking forward to the next thing.  Where I am going is the present.  A dear friend who turns 92 this week has always reminded me to not worry too much about the future as it comes soon enough.  I have come to understand that the precious moments are unscripted, unpredictable, and completely fleeting.  I think that experience has taught me that right this minute is the good old days.

So the time off has taught me that all we really have is time.  Time to spend, or time to invest.  Regarding time, I asked myself “For whose good to I serve?” And the answer to that question is the answer to where I need to spend time.  For those I serve, I need to help people grow, learn, and develop self-reliance.  I need to slow down to speed up; and do more by doing less.  I need to be surrounded by people who are gracious, positive, trustworthy and spirited.

Here’s what I know:  With age, I have more gratitude everyday for the simple things in life.  I know that focusing on the “ultimate harvest” is a fool’s game.  Our time is fleeting, and if we truly wish to make a difference in the lives of others, we’d better figure out how to best invest our time in a way that brings joy to the present, ongoing journey.  In my book on self-reliant leadership, I wrote that decisions determine destiny.  I think my next book will be focused on how a journey’s aim is more important than the destination or the pace.

  • Brad Billingsley
    Posted at 20:46h, 30 July Reply

    Jan, your comments are spot on. So often I hear of people that are miserable in their jobs, working long hours for a company they don’t respect, giving up on their health, relationships, outside interests. And recently I’ve heard of several that have been let go. Yet when asked “What are you passionate about? What are your talents? What are your values? and How might these come together for the next chapter in your life?”, they often get scared and feel “That’s not possible for me.” Then they plod on to more of what they were miserable at before. Living life fully is a choice and your book and how you lead those around you is inspirational.

  • Jan Rutherford
    Posted at 16:42h, 25 August Reply

    Thanks, Brad. I couldn’t agree more. Seldom do I meet people looking for networking assistance that know where they’re headed. Life’s too short to not be involved in fulfilling work that taps into your talents, skills, experiences and interests! Thanks for the comment!

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