It was a normal Monday afternoon when I got a text from my wife "I need to talk to you." Now, you don't know her, but a text like this from her means something is serious and she needs to talk. I immediately called her and she explained to me that our blond five year old daughter has a knee that had swollen to two or three time the size that it is supposed to be. She was worried, and after seeing it, I was too.
We rushed her to the local emergency room, where they confirmed that it was not broken. Yet, they were unsure as to the real cause - perhaps an infection, perhaps early onset arthritis, or perhaps a variety of other complications.
The next day included some addition tests and transferring her to a pediatric unit at a different hospital. Following many further tests, a surgery, and three days in the hospital, my little precious daughter returned home with a confirmed case of Lyme's Disease.
I share this because this was in the midst of a very busy week. I have to be honest, when my wife said, "let's go to the hospital," my first thoughts was about my schedule, what I was doing...or what I would not be able to do because of this event. I was less concerned about my daughter as I was my business and other commitments! Gosh, how wrong this was and how bad I feel that these were my thoughts.
Through this experience, I regained focus on life. I realized that the most important things for me in life is not how good my business is doing, not how much money I am bringing in, the esteem that others give to me or how busy I am in my church service, but rather the top-most priority is my family.
I felt like the leader who climbed to the tallest tree, surveyed the entire situation and yelled, "wrong jungle." I was going down the wrong track, focusing on tasks and not people.
I found that there is an important lesson here and it deals with the legacy that we are building. John Maxwell says, "Life is fleeting. When all is said and done, your ability as a leader will not be judged by what you achieved personally. No, our ability as leaders will not be measured by the buildings we built, the institutions we established, or what our team accomplished during our tenure. You and I will be judged by how well the people we invested in carried on after we are gone."
So, what are you doing today to make people a priority? Are you building others up? Have you determined to invest your time in another's growth? Do you think more about others than you do yourself? If it came down to checking something off your to-do list or empowering another person, which would you choose?
Jackie Robinson observed, "A life isn't significant except for its impact on other lives."
Thomas S. Monson, a world-wide religious leader, put it beautifully when he said, "Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved."
And Harold Kushner, a prominent American Rabbi stated: "Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth or power. Those rewards create almost as many problems as they solve. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that the world will at least be a little bit different for our having passed through it. "
I don't know about you, but for me I choose people, especially my family, and although this means that I won't get as much done in the short run, it will build a legacy that will go on long after I am gone.