Throughout my career in the US Army, I distributed a quote from W. Peter Blitchington. It reads: “No one is indispensable or irreplaceable at work….anyone from the lowliest yard worker to the highest executive, could easily be replaced and few tears would be shed. The most important person in the US—the Presidency—is rotated every four years with little mourning. But try replacing a son or daughter, a mother or father, a husband or wife without grave psychological damage. For it’s in our homes that we are needed; it’s to our family that we are important.”
That quote was widely distributed thru out my commands. I think it made people stop and think about how they were living their lives, and to ask themselves how were they doing with their priorities.
I tried to ensure that everyone that worked for me understood my personal priorities. My priorities have always been (and remain to this day) #1 my relationship with God, #2 my relationship with my Family, and #2 my profession. Those priorities have always served me well.
And remember….leadership is deeds, not words. Folks saw me demonstrating daily my priorities. I didn’t just say that Family was important, I demonstrated it in everything that I did. When I commanded Fort Hood, Texas (the largest installation in the free world) I instituted polices to ensure folks focused on their Families. I demanded that everyone be home for dinner by 6:00pm, went home on Thursdays at 3:00pm for additional Family time, and didn’t work on weekends without my personal approval. And, you can bet that I lived by my own policies. Folks saw me focused on my Family, everyday.
It is time for all of us to stop and think about how we are living our lives. Too many times people tell me that they are going to focus on work today, but they will focus on their Family tomorrow. They tell me that they will make the time to tell those they love that they love them….tomorrow. The problem with that logic is obvious. There is no guarantee that there will be a tomorrow.
Focus on what is truly important, TODAY.