I write this column at the end of a BIG week, both personally and professionally.
The week started with me receiving a lovely note from my cousin sharing that her Mum - my Aunty - had passed away the previous evening after a long battle with cancer and dementia. My Aunty (and Uncle for that matter) had been so kind and generous to my mother, sister and I throughout times of hardship when we were kids. I can confidently say the words ‘thank you’ just don’t do it justice. Their friendship, love and assistance - even from afar - are some of the fondest and ensconced memories of my life.
Now a few days later, my wife has just received news that her Nan has passed. My wife, and siblings from her immediate family, spent most of her childhood raised by her Nan, and unfortunately her experiences and memories of this period are mostly not at all positive. That said, as is always the case with my lovely wife, she was gracious with her thoughts…
“Like many families, we have a rather dysfunctional family dynamic in sooooo many ways…”
“This note it to say THANK YOU to Nan. She performed the role of mother to me, and a number of her grandchildren. She did that in the years when she would have loved to have been living a life of more freedom and to be really being her SELF. Instead, she was rather unhappy and very depressed a lot of the time. She still had her moments of happy - she would have loved a lot more. So, thank-you, Nan! Here's to you enjoying playing, dancing, laughing, and having fun with all of those you love so dearly on the other side. I love you forever!”
What’s this got to do with the community club industry and a CEO’s column you might be thinking?
My answer - we should all take a breath to reflect at times. Remember – you’re human and those you interact with are too.
Are we all not guilty of getting caught up in the day to day of the rat race? The work before you, pressures around finance, kid challenges, distressing world events, romance, health, family, what someone said about you or to you, challenging social media posts, your sense of worth, and more.
‘Roxane Gray’ is known for a lovely quote that sits well with me – “Social media (and email for that matter) is something of a double-edged sword. At its best, social media offers unprecedented opportunities for marginalized people to speak and bring much needed attention to the issues they face. At its worst, social media also offers ‘everyone’ an unprecedented opportunity to share in collective outrage without reflection.”
You see without slowing down to reflect, you don’t allow yourself time to ‘reset’ which means more stress and at times statements made, or actions taken, that are less than ideal.
Leadership and management generally, and as a foundation, require reflection. Some key elements of that reflection include - What has history and experience taught us/you? What of this applies to the future? What is relevant and how does this fit with your corporate culture and importantly your professional and personal values?
All too often, I see emotional or thoughtless people (me too at times), embarking on a take no prisoners approach to an issue, challenge or disaster, that has or is likely to present. Just like a fishing story, the whole thing can grow as things progress and a mountain is made from a molehill.
The wisdom offered in my comment is simply this – remind yourself that life is ‘really’ short. Relationships, people and thoughtfulness, as a foundation of your business and personal lives, are components that will always enhance and deliver. Make a daily effort to reflect, as you just might find, reflection is the ingredient that is missing or it has been lost from your life toolbox.
Ciao and warm regards
chief executive officer
PS… Final Word - Astronaut Alan Bean walked on the moon in November 1969. He said that main thing he took away from the Apollo 12 mission was that “humans can do a lot of amazing things”.