The CEO of a California mega firm PIMCO, a $2 trillion investment fund, resigned upon receiving a note from his daughter listing 22 milestones he had missed in her life. His most recently reported annual income was $100 million. His 10 year old daughter’s compelling list of the special moments where he was absent in her life was the turning point to bring a new balance in his work and family relationships. It was the teachable moment for Mr El-Erian.
El-Erian’s said his wake up call was, “My daughter compiled a list of her important events and activities that I had missed due to work commitments. The list contained 22 items, from her first day at school and first soccer match of the season to a parent-teacher meeting and a Halloween parade. I felt awful and got defensive: I had a good excuse for each missed event! Travel, important meetings, an urgent phone call, sudden to-do, but it dawned on me that I was missing an infinitely more important point… I was not making nearly enough time for her.”
El-Erian’s decision has brought better balance in his work/family relationships. He is now chief economic adviser with financial services company, Allianz, where he told Reuters he spends “50 percent of my time and I love it.”
He surrendered the good life for a much better life with less stress and more fulfillment in what matters most—right relationships. El-Erian has upgraded his “investment portfolio” which now prominently includes his daughter. This priceless investment will go on long after El-Rrian is gone to yield dividends for generations to come as well as fulfillment to serve all of them well.
Most young people today are among the majority who do not have a mother and father regularly in their life. Most do not have a mature adult relationship in their life. Their preoccupation is in their impersonal digital and game relationships which is void of personal nurturing relationships.
Family disintegration, absenteeism and the digital pseudo substitute fillers are taking an incalculable and generational toll on the health and well-being of this generation and those to follow. The economic, social, emotional, health, behavioral and addiction costs are having a tsunami impact on the well-being of our culture and nation.What threshold of “pain” and cost will it take for our wake up call?
C.S Lewis, a world class novelist said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pain; it is His megaphone that rouses a deaf world.” What it will take for the “deaf” to hear. As a fish desires what’s on the hook, we have no idea what is to come but feel more and more uncertain and aware of the fragility of life.
We are hooked suckers who take the bait. If we are still breathing it is not too late to spit out the hook. Ironically, we change our ways, not when we see the bait, but more often when we feel the “hook.” Not one of us picked our place of birth, nor do we control the variables that shape our future. Fulfillment comes from personal relationships which determine our significance and legacy. If we settle for anything less we are our own thief.
The priceless value of our worth was assigned by God from the beginning of time. When all is said and done, personal relationships with God and others matter most. We can be the difference we want to see in our communities. Seize today to show the better way in personal relationships that matter most.
Robert Lincoln “Bud” Hancock is the author of Designed for a Purpose (1970) www.DesignedForAPurpose.org. His education degrees are: Bachelor of Science from California State University and Masters Degree from University of California. He served as White House Reagan Administration as a SES appointee