This is a guest post by my colleague and Vistage Chair, Will Kaigler. Will leads and facilitates a CEO peer group in Pittsburgh, PA:
As you have come to know, my Monday morning email is typically comprised of articles and quotes relating to business. This week I am compelled to go in a different direction.
IF YOU READ ONLY ONE OF MY MONDAY MORNING EMAILS, PLEASE, READ THS ONE…
In many respects, last week was a good week. Many good and positive things were achieved. Then, Thursday evening, while eating dinner, my world was rocked. At 5:03, I received a text from my son, Zane, that simply stated “Omg dad”. The terseness, the choice of wording, even the lack of capital letters, made me uneasy. His response to my equally terse “What?” response, however, knocked me on my ass (figuratively). What he told me was that (and I am not going to use names here for obvious reasons) the father of one of his friends and neighbors had just committed suicide.
The background story is that his friend’s father had been a Pennsylvania State Trooper for 19 years. It wasn’t just his job – it was part of who he was – his identity. Well, last spring he was accused of a rather disturbing act. Since then, he had been on unpaid leave awaiting trial. The crime that he had been accused of was a misdemeanor crime, but it was disturbing and it was embarrassing.
I have no idea if he was guilty of what he had been accused of and it is not the point of today’s message. What I can say is that what he was accused of was not in character for the man that I knew. The neighbor who played wiffleball with all the kids in the neighborhood, the Dad who built a haunted house in the driveway so that all the “trick or treaters” could have a fun experience, the baseball coach who never missed a game that his son played or drove my son and all of his friends to Cedar Point for a great day.
Given a very difficult situation, he had a few options:
- If he was innocent, he could have fought on for his innocence
- If he was guilty, he could have taken the brave step to admit that he had made a mistake, accept the consequences and seek help to address the underlying issue, or
- He could run from the problem
He chose number 3 and, as a result, left a terrible void in his family, left his son without a father, and his wife a widow.
By now, you are likely asking, “This is a terrible story, but why are you writing about this?” – Good question!
I am compelled to write about this horrific story while it is still fresh because, while this is so sad for so many, perhaps the most tragic part is that while this 46-year-old man, Father, Husband, Neighbor, Police Officer could not change his past, he COULD have changed his future. It did not have to end in tragedy, it did not have to end in eternal loss.
I hope that no one reading this email ever has to face a crisis like this. That said, it is inescapable that we all face mini-crisis where we ask ourselves, “What am I doing and why and I doing it?”. It is my belief that the “Why” in that question is the important part – so much so that if we remember the “Why,” the “What” will take care of itself. This is true in our relationships – this is true in our businesses – this is true in LIFE.
So, as you start your week, remind yourself “why” you went into your business. “Why” you surround yourself with those that are close to you, “why” the people in your life (professional and personal) need you and “why” you need them.
None of us can change what happened last week, those chapters have been written, but we CAN change the next chapter and we CAN write the ending that we want as long as we face our problems head on and remember our “Why.”
Start writing the ending that you want for your story, today…
About Will Kaigler:
“I help CEOs work ON their business – not IN their business!
I am building private advisory boards for CEOs, business owners & executives to help them step out of the trees and see the forest. One can only understand how lonely it feels to be the leader of an organization after having experienced it. As a CEO myself, there were many times that I would have given anything to have an advisor and peer, who I trusted, to confidentially challenge my decisions (or validate them). Imagine having 15 peers, all talented CEOs, who only have your interest at heart! No hidden agendas or conflicts of interest, and diverse experiences to draw from. The power of the group helps our member CEOs manage strategic issues with clarity and confidence.
It’s magic…and it’s powerful!