Tag: mid-life transitions for executives

Embracing Death, Competing Agendas, and the Great Mystery

April 20, 2012 | By | 2 Comments

A forty-six-year-old gregarious and affable executive and member of Young Presidents’ Organization took his own life last month. He was married, with a twelve-year-old son. Everyone is trying to make sense of it. The event has generated feelings of shock, confusion, sadness, guilt, and anger. Behind the feelings are many thoughts. The post-modern mind has a tendency to pathologize everything—especially things that are hard or impossible to understand. Why did this happen? What could have been done? What could I have done? What signs did we miss? How can it be avoided next time? Whom Do You Know? I was reminded of how few people I know well (and how few know me well). The measure of how well we […]

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Three Recipes for Unhappiness

February 22, 2012 | By | Add a Comment

You can never get enough of what you don’t really need. ~ Unknown I’m a slow learner. In my twenty and thirties, I knew I was ambitious, hard-working, and resourceful but I had no idea what really drove me. Ironically, it was the source of my internal drive that limited my performance and happiness. I was a focused young man. And although I didn’t blatantly plow over colleagues in the early years of my career, my career pace and path were certainly more important than my relationships at work. It seemed practical to operate this way. I took my work seriously and I had plenty of friends outside of work. Eventually I heard the feedback from mentors and co-workers. I […]

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The Only Thing You Have to Know About Leadership

October 4, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

The Vice-Chairman of the Board invited me to dinner. Was the purpose social or business? By the manner in which he asked me, I knew there was something on his mind. I was the CEO of the company and Rick was a long-time friend and mentor (to the extent that I was mentor-able in my thirties). He was a Virginian, respectful and understated. Sometimes so reserved you didn’t know exactly what was on his mind. Over dessert, Rick waded slowly into risky territory. He asked me a few cryptic questions about how I thought things were going at the company. He stepped gently on a few more eggshells and asked how I thought I was communicating to my top team. […]

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