This week marks 10 years of “yes”. My husband and I got engaged on the Summer solstice of 2009 and tied the knot at City Hall with four of our favorite humans exactly a year later. (The big fat Greek wedding – in Greece – that ensued a month afterwardswarrants more leadership lessons than a newsletter is equipped to handle. You’ll read about that in the book.)
You’re catching me in a grateful, vulnerable, and reflective state this week as I look backon a decade. It seems like a significant chunk of time that’s worth holding for a minute before moving on to what’s next. So, I thought I’d share a few of the top leadership lessons we’ve learned thus far.
1. The Ordinary IS the Extraordinary. When I’m wiped from consecutive weeks oftravel, I can plummet into a temper tantrum of exhaustion. Why does it have to be so hard? I just want to be a lady who lunches. I never get to see you. I’m never home. What’s the point, it all goes to taxes anyway! My husband has learned that the quickest way to help me get back to neutral is to let the rant exhaust itself. (You marry a coach, you become a coach!) When the drama comes to a close, he asks me what we want to do with the time we do have together that day or weekend. And I’m always surprised how ordinary my answer is. I want to walk Henry together or BBQ on Sunday night or organize the storage closet or go buy a new plant. It’s the ordinary that creates an extraordinary life, I’m learning. The day-to-day rituals that create the shapes of our days and weeks and years that I wouldn’t trade for the world. If we could all learn to revel in the ordinary of our relationships, imagine what’s possible when the extraordinary walks in the door.
2. Naming It Works Every Time. My husband and I are really good at naming the good stuff. We honor each other’s strengths, our never-ending list of things we’re grateful for, what needs to happen in our businesses, our goals as a family. That’s a piece of cake for us. Naming the tough stuff is another story. We both grew up in very loving homes. Nonetheless, truth was swallowed, tough feelings were denied, and no one talked about what was actually going on in an effort to protect everyone else. (Another chapter in the book – stay tuned.) The intention was love, the impact was not. We both learned the skill of passivity or even silencing when things get tough.Unlearning this pattern has been a labor of love this past decade. Here’s what we’ve come to know for sure: Every argument can quickly be diffused once one of us hasthe courage to name what was actually going on. I’m hurting. I’m stressed. I’m scared. All the walls dissolve and love finds its way back in. If we could all learn to name what’s truly coming up for us from a place of good intent and commitment to not run away, imagine what’s possible for our families, teams, and organizations.
3. Being Seen Is The Greatest Gift We Can Give. After getting married and buying an apartment in NYC, we both quit our well-paying jobs to do what we love. This bold move led to some very interesting times of tension around money, judgment, fear, scarcity – all while getting to know who the heck we were as a newlywed unit. How did we get through the other side of the roller-coaster? We kept seeing each other. Holding space for our dreams, honoring each other’s potential, remaining steadfast to what we could grow into – together. Despite our then-current state of uncertainty and seas of unwarranted opinions from others, I would see my husband as the hospitality leader that he is – ripe with his superpowers of generosity and kindness. He would see me as the leadership leader that I am –always encouraging me to invest in my core values of growth and freedom. I remember reading a quote once that has been on our bulletin board ever since: “Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” Those are words we live by. This gift of seeing each other and seeing the world – together – is the glue that anchors us into this life we’re building.If we could all see each other for who we are and who we are becoming, imagine what’s possible for even the most pressured relationships in our homes, organizations, and beyond.
So, from my heart to yours, I wish you partnership. Whether it’s a spouse or child or parent or co-worker – I wish you the courage to invest in the partnerships that you deem worthy of your life’s journey. It’s these few, important people in our lives that make the journey worth traveling.
To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.
The quote on our wedding invitation
From Theory to Action
Pick one of your most important relationships. A boss, co-worker, friend, child, spouse – anyone that’s on your Top 5 humans list. Do a little inventory as I’ve done above. What makes this relationship tick? What have you learned along the way? What do you most appreciate about the other? About yourself? Consider the lenses I’ve shared: Ordinary is the extraordinary – what are the ordinary moments you create together?;Name what’s really going on – how courageous is your relationship?; See each other – how much energy goes into holding space for one another’s dreams?
Once you’ve reflected, I urge you to share it with your person. Sometimes – actually, always – acknowledging what is good allows it to multiply.
Wishing you all a wonderful Summer!