It was a wonderful summer on Long Island. Beautiful sunny days with just enough heat to enjoy the beaches and the pool.
My family and I spent a week in Montauk this summer that will not be forgotten. “The End”, as locals call it, is over 100 miles east of the bustle of Manhattan and stretches out into the Atlantic Ocean on the South Fork. After five idyllic nights with my wife and son, we had reconnected as a family and I felt invigorated.
On our last night as we walked on the beach, my four-year-old son, Jake, asked me if we could stay in Montauk. I told him that we needed to go home because Daddy had to go back to work.
His follow up question caught me off guard and kicked off an internal monologue and dialogue with my wife for the next week:
“Daddy….Why do you work?”
I rattled off the generic four-year-old approved reasons…. “money…benefits…it is what adults do…to provide”….blah…blah….blah….
But, I want to go back and give him a more complete and accurate answer – this is my attempt:
Over the course of my 20 years in the workforce, I have come in contact with some amazing people who have motivated me to be better, challenged me to think differently and helped shape me into the man I am today.
The individuals I have had the privilege of working with and the people I have come in contact with –from Navy Seals to world class athletes and everyone in between- have been amazing. Each of them has added value to my journey and are one of the most enjoyable aspects of my career.
After all, isn’t it always about people?
In any endeavor the goal is to accomplish the objective, but the value is in the process.
In the business world, the brightest minds are continuously attempting to conceive, develop, build and improve upon their vision. This process of creativity is at the heart of what motivates innovative thinkers and leaders.
Learning how to derive greater joy from the process rather than from crossing the finish line, being present, experiencing the moment, and reflecting on lessons learned is at the heart of what I value in my work.
To me, there is no greater joy than building and leading a team to achieve great heights. Constructing a team of diverse individuals with varying backgrounds and experiences and focusing them on a singular mission is immensely rewarding.
In my career, I have received some great coaching from my mentors. Each of them challenged me to be better, helped me recognize my weakness and realize my potential.
As I have moved into more prominent leadership positions, I have an obligation to provide leadership and develop my teams in the same manner. Participating in and observing my team members evolve and grow is one of the biggest reasons why I work.
“Daddy…..why do you work?”
On the surface, we endure the grueling commutes and long hours and days away from our loved ones to provide opportunity and stability to our families. But for the vast majority of us….there is much more. Things that are more important to us or more essential to our satisfaction. Answering my “why” helped to reignite my passion for work.
Finding my “why” has also made me a better parent and husband because I get to take these themes and lessons home. I place significant emphasis on our relationships, the moments we share and teaching Jake the essential skills he will need to find his “why” and follow his own dreams.