It was a cold, winter morning as I boarded a United flight from Chicago to the east coast. I had been up before dawn and taken the first flight out of Cedar Rapids to the windy city. I was delighted that everything was running on time and hoping it would keep staying on time.
Bundled up in my winter coat and keeping my head down as I entered my second flight of the day, the stewardess on board greeting me by say, “Good morning sir. How are you today?”
I responded with a typical midwestern answer of “Fine. And you?”
“Blessed beyond measure” was her answer.
I was so stunned by her comment that I stopped walking. I straightened up, smiled, met her eyes and said “Thank-you.” Her three words were a sermon, a blessing, and a gift, all at the same moment. This summer I have tried to carry this depth of awareness as I go about my daily work.
Over the course of my career, I have met many people who were going through intense and difficult life experiences. From the diagnosis of a terminal illness to divorce, from the loss of a child to the loss of faith, for these people waking up and getting out of bed is like climbing a mountain. They question whether or not it is worth the effort to keep moving forward given all they experience.
When they have shared at this level with me, I am humbled. If only others knew how much personal pain people carry through the land of organizational change. And yet I have learned one thing, there are miracles and blessings in the midst of it all. The smile of a loved one or child can be up-lifting. The kindness of a stranger can be transformative. The gift of time and compassion to truly listen and be understood. We often get so busy that we forget that these little things can be life-giving, hope rebuilding.
This week, spend time each day counting some of your blessings. Put it all back into perspective and realize that we are all blessed beyond measure, even in the midst of our hardest days in the land of leadership.