Don’t Blink

“I believe that this Nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”
-John F. Kennedy, 1961

This week, I’ve been away from the office supporting the Summer Leadership Experience at West Point. Rising high school seniors get a one-week mini-dose of cadet life by being exposed to the physical, military and academic rigors of life at the academy. It was a lot of fun working with the next generation of candidates, answering their questions about cadet and military life, career paths outside of the military and reliving the decision-making and application process through their eyes. 

And then I got hit with this question:  

Cadet Candidate, “Sir, what year did you graduate?”

Me, “2004.”

Group of Candidates, “That’s before we were born!”

I thought to myself, “Where did the time go?” I chuckled a little, shook my head and went about my day.  

The following day I wake up, and LinkedIn alerts me, “Congratulations on celebrating 10 years at MCFA.”

If I wasn’t in a reflective mode already…where did the time go?

10 years?! A decade?! 120 months. 520 weeks. 3,650 days!No matter how you track it, a lot can happen in a decade.  

Don’t blink, as the Kenney Chesney song goes.  

Where were you a decade ago? Where will you be a decade from now? 

A decade ago, I was navigating the “private sector,” fresh off active duty and recently married with no kids, and I was surviving the day-to-day cadet life at West Point the decade before that. And as I enter this next decade, I am thinking about raising three kids, building our business and impacting people – our clients, partners and employees. 

Each new decade brings new dreams. Those dreams bring decisions. And sometimes those decisions change the course of our life. West Point certainly changed mine. After the decisions are the day-to-day commitment to see our choices through, the day-to-day can be mundane and challenging, long and tiring. But the day-to-day is where it happens – the get-up and go, do all the things on the list, respond to the emails, plan the quarter, review the budget, check the boxes, take the call, go to the meeting, pick up the kids, coach soccer, take out the garbage, plan a date night, squeeze in the workout. We do all of this to fulfill our purpose and maximize our God-given gifts. It’s easy to lose sight of the vision in the day-to-day.  

Whether you are just graduating college, nearing your retirement (or already retired) or somewhere in between, I encourage you to take time today to think about your journey – what decisions did you make or will you make? Where are you going in the next decade? How are you spending your next 3,650 days? 

Take a moment to reflect and realize that every step is part of our personal journey that will lead us to something greater than ourselves. Only if we stay the course, though. I know it’s easy to get frustrated and distracted, and it’s easy to feel like we aren’t making progress or maybe even like we are taking steps back. If you need to course-correct, learn from the past and look to the future. Most of the time, we just need to remind ourselves how far we have come to give ourselves the confidence that we are on the right path.  

NASA put a man on the moon in less than a decade. Think about what your organization can accomplish.  

BJ Kraemer, President