They journeyed from Southern California, New York, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma City. Scattered by the Story, we created space for a family reunion in Tulsa.
Hosting something so “once-in-a-life-time” can be stressful. I wanted everything to be “perfect” for my family.
Sound familiar? What about the way you work or run your business? You know that “perfection” is an illusion, and yet it tempts you to force your view of it upon others. You could learn a lot from my family reunion, as I did.
The Overwhelming Task
I had to coordinate the travel of 9 family units, 14 adults, and 9 children for a few days and nights and a lot of meals. My plan was to anticipate everything and meet everyone’s needs and expectations.
Consider the challenges:
- Harmonizing Eastern, Central, and Pacific Time Zones
- Planning a menu that covered 3 meals a day for several days
- Activity for little people, big people, and senior citizens
- Schedules and travel
- Lodging of four family units in our home
- And all that other stuff…
Clearly, the unexamined expectation of “perfect” was unrealistic.
What do you do?
As I listened to the Story I learned a lesson. More to the point, I learned about myself.
It’s very easy to slip into “trying to control things.” I say, “trying to control things,” because control is mostly an illusion.
Here’s the simple question: If you struggle with self-control, how will you control others?
Recipe for Misery
I imagine it’s clear to you…
Steve, did you really think a “perfect” family reunion could be achieved? How did you think people ages 1 through 80+ could each have all their needs met? Did you really think you could “control” things and make it happen?
This simple principle became clear to me: “Let it go.”
Plan. Prepare. Release.
As I released things it was amazing how so many details worked out. Flight arrangements that seemed awkward became appointments for connections.
For example, my brother, his wife, and their daughter’s family flew from California into Oklahoma City. That’s a two-hour drive from our home in Tulsa.
“Let it go.”
Sure enough, it worked out. Our daughters and grandchildren live in OKC. As a result, the five families enjoyed dinner together and the eleven kids had a lot of fun playing together. It was great.
“Let it go.”
Work, Your Family Reunion
Whether your workplace is a family-owned business or a Fortune 500 company, it’s an organization and a gathering of people. You don’t enjoy a “perfect” experience, but you do come together around a purpose, vision, and mission; at least I hope you do.
Today, you re-unite with your team. You made the journey back to the office, the plant or the field. Whether you own the business, have a position of leadership or you lead by how you show up, it isn’t “perfect.”
- How many generational and gender differences are there?
- How many engagement and productivity challenges do you see?
- What about all the different expectations people have?
Here’s the recipe for misery at work: seek control.
If you try to control others or things out-of-your-control, misery will visit everyone involved.
The real objective of leadership is not control but influence.
Expanding Your Influence
Self-control allows you to expand your influence. Leadership is about leading, guiding, directing or influencing people.
Your everyday task is to host a reunion with those you work with. Forget perfection. “Let go” and live your life with purpose and passion while seeing and serving others.
By the way, it was a great family reunion. Thanks, Mom and Dad. You gave us a foundation to build upon and let us go so we could write our own Story.
Here’s to your next level…