Last year I posted a Thanksgiving Top Ten. Boy, talk about setting the bar high. Don’t get me wrong, ten is a great number. It was in 2010 and it still is today. But 10 is a daunting number if you have to repeat it every year. So I’m pruning this year’s list down to 3. I’m still thankful for last year’s top ten, but here are the three things I’m most thankful for over the past year.
- For intense challenge – this past year has been marked, more than anything, by intense challenges that have driven me to look deep inside myself and ask, “Do I have what it takes?”. Too often in my life, I have been blessed with successes that have seemed to come too easy. This past year, I have had to work my tail off to keep things together – both professionally and personally. Three Pillar went through its first major fundraising, two acquisitions, a layoff, and is now in the last stages of “changing the guard” as we have primed our leadership team for the next stage of growth. The intense stress of navigating these new experiences led to additional stress at home and throughout my life. Despite the rough patches, I am truly grateful for having to work hard, humble myself, admit defeat, pick myself up, seek advice, and grow as a man of God, husband, father, and CEO. I am undoubtedly a better man for all of it.
- For my scaffolding – in the book The Breakthrough Company Keith McFarland describes one of the keys to the success of a company as the individuals surrounding and supporting the company from the outside. My scaffolding must span the entire side of the building. It includes not only business advisors but personal ones as well. The list goes on and on. It obviously includes Teresa, Bobby, Blaine, Paul and several of the individuals that made 2010’s Thanksgiving Top Ten. It also includes our board (Michael, Mary, Ed, Larry, Bill), my advisors (Rich, John), and other professionals that are great friends of the company (Mike, Keri, David).
- For friendship – yes, friendship. I have been blessed with new friendships over the past year – some brand new, some of greater depth. God is asking me to be his friend, not just his servant. Teresa and I are spending a lot of time working on taking our friendship to the next level (ever read Love and War?). My sister Allison graduated from high school and left for Steubenville a few months ago and it seems as though these new experiences and having more in common have taken our friendship to a new level. I have been fortunate to find an accountability partner that I can share openly with and who calls me on to greater holiness. I have the privilege of working with people I profoundly respect and enjoy being around. It has been a thrill to get to know new teammates like Brian and Ann with whom I have found myself laughing so hard that I have cried.
This past year hasn’t been easy, but it has been good. I will look back, undoubtedly, in several years and see this as a turning point in both my life and my career. I’m thankful for the challenges and the people who have walked through them with me.