Closing 2011

This will be my last blog post for 2011. Like most of you, I’ll take a break over the next few weeks, so bear with me for a longer-than-usual post. What an amazing year this has been for me on all fronts, setting very high expectations for an even better 2012. When I write my weekly blog posts, I typically look back at the previous week and reflect on what to write. Ironically, this past week itself was a wonderful microcosm of the whole year itself.

This past week started by connecting with one of my oldest and dearest friends – my sister of 25 years – Mollie. She is a pediatrician and gave me a heavy dosage of tough love that I needed. What is it about old friends that they can tell you exactly what you need to hear in the manner that you can hear it and at the right time? Friends like these are just priceless.

Mid-week, I talked to one of my good friends and clients, Jim, from the Midwest. He shared with me that he and his wife recently relocated to another state just to be with their very ill daughter and her family. At a time when everyone is so concerned about job security, Jim informed his boss that this was something he had to do and he anticipated being relieved from his job as a result. Instead, his employer allowed him to work virtually from his new home. Kudos to them for fully supporting him and giving him credit for his integrity and values.

Mid-afternoon later in the week I played golf with two scratch golfers and beat them both on the front 9 in straight-up stroke play, only to have both matches go to the 18th hole and win against one and lose to the other with the backdrop of rapidly falling sun and temperature. It was not the win or loss that I savored on the drive after–it was that I was able to get the best out of me against tough competition, and actually play golf in December!

On Thursday, I had a meeting with a client in Winston-Salem, NC. I got in early and wanted a quick bite to eat so I stopped at Chick-fil-a on top of the hill on Hanes Mill Road. I got a soda, grilled chicken sandwich and those yummy wedge fries. I experienced by far the best customer service of any fast food restaurant in my life. After ordering, I was given a number. Food was brought to my table by a young man, who repeatedly stopped by and asked if I needed anything. An older lady stopped by when I was done and gave me a mint and thanked me for stopping by. After easting, I was catching up on emails on my iPhone and the young man came and cleared my table and refilled my drink. I gave him $5 but he refused to take it. So I went over to the manager and asked him to give it to the young man. What an experience to have right before my own meeting with my client… doing everything possible to make sure it was a pleasant experience.

On Facebook, another old friend, Melissa, posted a campaign video by a national politician vowing that if elected, he would bring Christian values back to America and start that by ridding the military of gay servicemen and women. The conversation is still going but was delighted to see so many perspectives on the issue in a healthy debate of differences.

Friday night, the family attended my daughter’s musical at her school. I know every parent knows this but it sure is indescribable watching your child perform. Pride and joy, is all I can say. Saturday I saw the movie “The Way” which my friend Tom highly recommended. It quickly has gone to the top 10 of my all time favorite movies. I highly recommend it to you all; it is a powerful, funny, and entertaining story of a father completing his dead son’s pilgrimage (Camino de Santiago) in the Pyrenees. You will be thinking and talking about it for days afterwards.

Then yesterday my friend Dan and I were going to do a bike ride, but freezing temperatures forced us inside. We rode an actual Ironman course in Arizona using a Computrainer, a technology I’d never seen before simulating exact bike conditions as the course. It is fun to do something you’ve never done before.

What a great week. What a great year. No regrets. Great hope for next year. I wish all of you diverse and rich experiences in 2012, wonderful conversations with old and new friends, and hope you explore beyond your metaphoric shores and take advantage of the gifts of life, health, and freedom.

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