Monday, August 11, 2014
In life there are pivot points (see previous essay) and there are moments of significant change, and rarely do we get the chance to mark/recognize or celebrate these “moments” appropriately. Well last week was just that situation for yours truly, and I am proud to say that the event or “moment” was highlighted in very appropriate fashion.
After an amazing experience at Bolthouse Farms, last week I announced my plans to “retire” after having had the chance to work on the business and brand over the past five years. In many ways the time has absolutely flown by, learning so much, having so many new experiences, gaining great respect and affection for the agriculture element of our business, to name a few key highlights. Just the experience two years go of selling the company, ultimately to Campbell’s, was one that I will savor and cherish for years to come. I put “retirement” in quotes to highlight that while that is how we have announced my planned departure, I am not planning on retiring professionally. I have loved my time at Bolthouse, but having flown one million+ miles over the past 3-4 years, I needed and wanted more time with my family, thus the announcement last week.
Now with all of that said, transitions are never easy, and I am not especially good at them personally, so I wanted and needed to do something special to highlight this significant event. Thus a plan started to brew some months ago. I had my eye on an old, restored, Mercedes diesel sedan that was in Los Angeles. While no show car, it had been restored nicely and was in great shape and I went to see the car when I was in LA and started falling in love. Coincidentally, my dear son Bryson talked this past spring about wanting to do a big road trip, just him and me, and the spark of a plan was started.
Well last week that plan came together in a big way. Sunday, August 2nd, was the end of our fiscal year and we announced my departure plans on Friday July 31st. Bryson and I flew to LA on Sunday August 2nd, and after a few hours making calls and wrapping up a few things in our Santa Monica office on Monday, we found our way over to Glendale California (check out, www.mercedesmotoring.com, an awesome place that really know and love these cars), picked up our car and drove back home to Atlanta. Five days on the road, what a perfect way to digest this big event, spend some amazing hours and adventures with my 16 year old son, break in and completely fall in love with a new “old” car, etc. What a way to mark this “moment of passage!” Bryson wrote a blog during the trip, so if you want more of those adventures, checkout www.oneweekontheroad.blogspot.com.
For me, the nexus of the adventure occurred Tuesday afternoon, outside of the Petrified Forest in western New Mexico. Over the past four plus years, I have held a weekly (every Tuesday) conference call for a broad portion of our company at Bolthouse Farms. I would cover weekly/monthly/quarterly performance metrics, key customer/brand issues & opportunities, and close with the focus points for the week/weeks ahead. Every Tuesday, one hour, varied locations, rain or shine. Well last week, from outside the Petrified Forest, I was going to lead my last “weekly call.” I had prepared my numbers and reports as usual, and was prepared for an emotional “moment.” As I sat in the car, Bryson took his guitar, left me to my conference call, and went to sit in the shade in front of a convenience store and strum away. As I sat there, reviewing my last set of numbers while watching my dear son playing his guitar in the shade, I had tears in my eyes BOTH from the company and team that I will desperately miss, and the family that I am so anxious to spend more time with; both “moments” and profound truths exemplified in the parking lot in western New Mexico.
When you have ‘moments” of significant change in your life, and we all have and will, try to find your own way to mark, or celebrate them so they can have the right significance and place in your personal stories. While they may not contain a sixteen year old playing a guitar near the Petrified Forest in rural New Mexico, try to find your own authentic way to literally create memories for a lifetime!