Life Milestones

Gerwig 2014-05-30

May has been an exciting time for our family. I received a very large increase in pay. Er, I mean our sons graduated from college! Yes, two private school tuitions adds (or keeps) a significant amount of money into my bank account every month. Trust me, I have no shortage of ideas on how to use the money. Investments. Travel. Entertainment. The money will be put to good use. And the education our sons received will be put to good use as well. It was a blessing to send them to good schools. I truly believe a quality education is a gift. It was a gift given to me and one I’m passing onto the next generation.

The most recent graduation is pictured above. The setting was a grassy lawn under a large number of oak trees. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and work colleagues came from all over the country to see their favorite college student graduate from Elon (which means “oak tree” in Hebrew) in picturesque Elon, North Carolina.

The picture above was taken before the graduation ceremony started. We arrived early and still could only find seating in the back. By the time the processional was being played and the students walked to their chairs, nearly all the seats were taken and many guests were standing. It was packed.

Thank goodness it was a “cool” day with temperatures in the mid-to-high 70s. In fact, the weather and setting were near perfect for a college graduation. The school had conveniently located stations where you could get a cup of cold water and equally convenient portable toilets that were air-conditioned and clean (glad that private school tuition was put to good use!). It was a great setting and a well-planned event.

As the graduation services ended, thousands of cameras emerged. In fact, even during the ceremony, nearly everywhere you looked, someone had a phone or camera taking a picture or video (that was immediately Facebooked , Instagramed, texted, emailed or “fill in the blank”). It’s part of culture. To take pictures at graduation.

When the ceremonies were completed, we gathered our tribe. Some had come from Arizona, others from Colorado, others from South Carolina, and still others from Kentucky. The tribe had gathered. We took pictures. We took more pictures. And more after that.

During the weekend graduation festivities, we also ate out at favorite restaurants and talked and told family stories and lies. We hugged and laughed and attended church together on Sunday morning at our son’s church. And yes, we took some more pictures.

Whether you’re attending a college graduation, a wedding, a birth, a retirement or a new product launch, world-class leaders know that recognizing and celebrating Life Milestones is important. The world-class leader knows that events like these are worth celebrating and are an important part of any organization’s legacy.

Life Milestones help us track our history. They tell our story and remind us of important lessons. They provide an opportunity (or excuse) to gather the tribe. To connect. To reminisce. And to plan.

You may be a pilot, or a high school teacher, or a sales rep, or a business executive, or a student, or a missionary, or a policeman, or an engineer. If not, you’re something else. A mom. A brother. A grandfather. A daughter. Or you may be something else entirely. Or you may be a combination of several roles. A son, brother, husband, father, and executive all rolled into one person. Regardless of your role or position, you have an opportunity to recognize and celebrate Life Milestones in your organization. It doesn’t matter if your organization is a small family or a large global corporation, you have Life Milestones that are worthy. Worthy of a party. Worthy of creating memories.

Take time to recognize and celebrate Life Milestones in your life, in your organization. Have a party. Enjoy a feast. Take pictures. Tweet them. Instagram them. Or whatever. But don’t gloss over these special and unique opportunities. They are markers that tell your story, help you remember your heritage and provide an opportunity to do some strategic planning that will lead to future Life Milestones.

How about you? How do you recognize and celebrate the milestones in your organization?

As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.

Dr. is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]


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