Carl’s Comments: Cherish Every Day

I recently read that a relatively young pastor at Venture Church in Los Gatos died from a heart attack while snow boarding with his family. My heart weeps for his family, as they try to cope with such an unanticipated tragedy. At my own Church in San Jose – Cathedral of Faith – founding Pastor Kenny Foreman passed away just days before Christmas after a long battle with cancer. And while his circumstances were more clearly expected, the loss is no less painful for his family and many friends.

Even when the examples are not about friends passing away, each of us are aware that we are a day older with each passing day. I smile at the celebration of friend and mentor Bob Kieve, Founder and CEO of Empire Broadcasting, who enjoyed his 97th trip around the sun on December 9, and is as sharp, inquisitive and wise as he was when he was a young speechwriter in the White House for President Dwight D. Eisenhower. I’m also heartened by friends who successfully overcame serious illnesses in 2018, staying vibrant and strengthening their vision for our Valley’s future.

So how might we turn the mantra “Cherish Every Day” into a mindset that makes a difference in our own lives? For me, it means three new and specific character traits for 2019:

Quiet Time – In Silicon Valley, we are all too often caught up in the business of busyness, sprinting from place to place. To prepare for 2019, I set aside 15 minutes of quiet time, each and every morning during the 31 days of this past December. Before reading a single tweet or email, I read from the sacred text of my own faith tradition, giving thanks for my family and friends, praying for humility and passion as the guiding principles for the day ahead.

Prioritize with purpose – A question: Ever end your day, exhausted, yet not recognizing clearly what you accomplished, or – worse yet – whether anything was accomplished? In 2019, each day will include the key priorities on my list to accomplish in the 24 hours ahead. Will some days blow up before my eyes? Of course. But on most days, before it draws to a close, there will be the peaceful satisfaction that several items on my list will have check marks next to the task.

Placing people first – Taped to my computer monitor on my work desk is a simple sentence that I placed there years ago: “My primary job as CEO is to help my colleagues succeed at their jobs.” Not only is it taped at the top of my computer monitor, it is strategically centered between my office chair and office door. When colleagues come in without an appointment, rather than feeling distracted, the note is my visual reminder that the needs of my colleagues should always come first. It checks my spirit – my people are more important than any item on which I was working.

For those who know me well, you know that I also have a full list of specific resolutions for 2019. They cover each aspect of my life, which I may share in future blog posts. Yet these over-arching themes – Quiet Time, Prioritize with Purpose, Placing People First – lay the foundation for a year that will be satisfying, not just successful.

Please share your list. Let’s help each other succeed. Let’s help each other to cherish every day. We never know how many more sunrises are before us.

–  Carl Guardino, CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group