My daughter is a freshman attending the honors college at the University of Arizona in Tucson. She is a having a phenomenal year. She has a great roommate. She made the Dean’s List. She has an incredible group of friends that includes girls, guys, freshmen, and upperclassmen. She’s found a college-age church group she loves. And she’s an easy drive up Interstate 10 to family living in Phoenix where she can get away whenever she needs a break from campus.
This last week, my wife and I flew into Phoenix and drove down to see her. We checked out her off-campus apartment she’ll be living in with 3 other girls next year. We received an excellent tour of the campus. We ate dinner at a favorite restaurant one night for dinner. We took her friends out for homemade ice-cream at local hangout and enjoyed an intimate lunch at one of her favorite spots. We saw her room, brought clothes back to Phoenix for washing, made a deposit on next year’s apartment and, in general, had a great visit.
As I walked around campus with this young, beautiful, mature, gifted, petite 18-year old, many thoughts came to mind. How much I love college campuses. How blessed I was. How much university life has changed in the last 30 years. How much university life has stayed the same. How quickly my princess was growing into a beautiful young lady who was full of wisdom, grace and knowledge. And how spoiled she was because the weather was picture-perfect.
Okay, let me explain that last bit. I love my daughter and enjoy spoiling her. It comes with the territory. But I also expect her to deliver. I expect her to stay out of trouble, to make good grades, to attend church, to have a good attitude. To carry the torch to the next generation. To make a difference. And trust me, she’s delivered. She a great young lady and I’m fortunate to be her dad.
Yet as we walked around campus one evening there was one small problem that kept creeping into my thoughts. The weather. It was TOO nice! You see, that day the weather in Tucson was sunny and in the mid to high 80s (Fahrenheit). Amazing weather for early February. You see her mom and I had just flown into Arizona from Connecticut where it was NOT warm and sunny. In fact, while I was walking around the University of Arizona campus in shorts, a t-shirt and sandals, my home in Connecticut was receiving nearly 2 feet of snow!
That’s just not right. Surely there was a mistake. Surely Arizona should be partly sunny and 60 degrees while Connecticut was partly sunny and 50 degrees or something like that. There’s no way Tucson could be sunny and high 80s while Connecticut was overcast and low 20s. But there it was.
Sarcasm aside, the weather in Tucson during the winter months is definitely nicer than the weather in Connecticut during the same time period. That’s just how it is. And rather than being jealous, I chose to be thankful. I was thankful my daughter had a beautiful campus and could enjoy amazing weather. I celebrating in her success. I’m happy for her. I am thankful and I celebrate, with her, a great college environment.
Great leaders don’t put others down. They don’t demonstrate jealous or resentment. Great leaders are genuinely happy for others. They celebrate in their success. Today I had the opportunity to enjoy lunch with an old friend. He’s done well. I had a choice with to respect to how I felt. I could be jealous. Or I could celebrate in his success. I chose the latter.
A couple observations – you can drink the poison of resentment and bitterness or you can eat the dessert of contentment. You can harbor ill-will or you can celebrate the success of others. Recognizing the success and accomplishments of others does nothing to minimize who you are or what you’ve accomplished. It’s not a competition despite what you may have heard.
My friend’s success is partly mine. I’ve mentored him, served him, corrected him and prayed for him. I’m glad he’s doing well. It’s not a zero-sum game. His accomplishments do not minimize my own. Great leaders understand the greatest joy is in helping others succeed, serving them and encouraging their growth.
Are you full of jealousy or praise? Do you attempt to cut people down or build them up? Do you celebrate the success of others or pout when you hear about their good news?
Have a great week and remember to celebrate the success of others.
Dr. Robert Gerwig 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]LeadStrategic.com.
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