The thirst for stability, for knowns or guarantees, to believe that if we go this direction or make these decisions, if we handle our money or our relationships or our health just so, all will be well, and life will turn out just as we imagined…that thirst seems insatiable.
And to slake that thirst?
We go all sorts of directions. On the financial side, there is Social Security, ideas about Universal Basic Income, pension plans, saving and preparation. Health? Diet, exercise, rest, vaccines, moderation. And in relationships, attentiveness and self-awareness. Though if you’ve spent many years as an adult, you know there is simply no such thing as a guarantee. By definition, life isn’t guaranteed. It comes through death and mortal life ends with death.
So where do we turn?
Here’s what I’ve learned. My only option has been to look to others who are farther along on the journey than I am. Whose gifts and talents are different from mine, who are willing to share of themselves and their lives in ways which touch both my heart and my head. And who by their counsel and care improve my decision-making ability. To maximize the benefit of their input however, I have had to learn to ask for, receive, and apply the advice I have been given. Solomon, known for both wealth and wisdom, said there is both safety and wisdom in an abundance of advisors.
And what decisions have we made?
We have chosen a posture of continuous growth and improvement. Always reading. Choosing to listen and learn, focused on improving our understanding of others and the world around us. All with the goal of becoming who we were designed to be at conception. From a business perspective, we have made three specific choices.
My friend Charlie has been a client for thirty years, business partner for fifteen. I’m decent with numbers, he’s a master with them. He is our “go-to” for building out the annual budget, reviewing quarterly financial results, helping us think through all sorts of business and finance-related issues. I make no meaningful business decisions, including setting my own salary, without discussion with and input from Charlie. Why, when I’m the majority owner? Simply a choice. A decision to be under authority. To respect his investment of not just money, but hours of counsel, and because he sets the example. In handling his own money, being free of debt, being patient, kind, and giving. The focus of our work together? Long-term financial viability for the firm and good stewardship of the revenue with which we have been entrusted.
Brent is our EOS facilitator. And has become like a brother to me. The process? Demanding, but so valuable. We have chosen EOS as our path to pursue operational excellence, and Brent’s wisdom, care, and insight have been crucial in the success we have experienced. The team engagement and the bonds which have been created through this are a first in my business life and I am so grateful. The focus? Operational excellence which expresses itself as superior client care. To steward well those client relationships with which we have been entrusted.
Michael left the top echelons of a national retailer at a relatively young age and formalized his corporate experience through coaching training. He has been our organizational coach for several years. He serves as personal/professional coach to each of our team members. But why? Our business experience affirms what Patrick Lencioni writes about. The organization and the team members which comprise that organization must be relationally healthy in order for the organization to work well. Michael facilitates this for us. The focus? Stewarding well the team member relationships with which we have been entrusted.
If you’ve made it this far, some of you are thinking that this is a lot of time, money, and energy to expend. It is. Do you pursue something similar? Depends on things like goals and purpose. The purpose of our business is not first and foremost to maximize shareholder value. Our purpose first and foremost is to seek the peace and prosperity of everything entrusted to our care. And our decisions to engage wise counsel across different disciplines aligns well with our core values of Stewardship, Teamwork, Pursuit of Excellence, and Pursuit of Personal and Professional Growth.
These decisions have not been made lightly. A story which resonates with me goes back two thousand years or so and is recorded twice in the gospels. Given it’s an oral history, there are small variations in the telling. A centurion comes to Jesus, asks him to heal a very ill servant. Jesus said he’d be right there. The centurion suggested that Jesus simply give a healing command rather than spend the time walking to the centurion’s home. The centurion’s explanation for this is identical in both tellings of the story. The centurion said “For I too am a man under authority. I tell this man to come and he comes, this one to go and he goes”. The centurion had an innate understanding that what gave him his authority was not his position, power, or prestige. His authority came from his choice to be under the counsel or command of another.
So, to with us.
Until we see you again, wishing you only the best.