Some of you know this already. Others of you do not. Except for friends and family and close colleagues, I’ve stayed silent.
A few weeks ago, I was invited on John Maxwell’s Live2Lead stage to speak. The night before the event, John invited me to dinner and we had a good long chat about what was going on in my life. And of course, because it’s John, we talked a lot about what it means to lead. Authentically lead. I didn’t sleep a wink that night thinking about how I have stood on so many stages for the last six months hoping to ‘lead and inspire’ all of you, while my head and heart were somewhere else.
Earlier this year, my son, my daughter, and I were unwittingly caught up in the college admissions scandal. Despite the media asking me to make a statement or come on their shows, I’ve said nothing in public. First and foremost, to protect my children – they are victims in this and their experience belongs to them.
But I was silent also because I could think of nothing positive to come out of this mess. For the first time in my life, I was really stopped in my tracks. Stunned. At a loss for anything I could pull out of this fire.
The day of the Live2Lead speech, I stood in the green room watching Rachel Hollis on screen. She didn’t have a speech ready. Her brother-in-law had just passed and she didn’t feel prepared. So, she just spoke beautifully from her heart. I couldn’t walk on stage after that dinner with John and after watching Rachel be real and raw, and pull out my perfectly curated speech. It felt disrespectful to John, and to the audience he loves so much.
So, I didn’t. I started to, and then stopped half-way through. Without dwelling on my kids’ experience, I attempted to describe the one positive insight that, after six months of confusion, kept resurfacing. I have clung to it, grateful for its uplift. None of us will ever be perfect parents, but this insight reminded me that I can always do better. I hope it might do the same for you.
It was funny, when I arrived home I thought of you all. The audience I care for so deeply and feel so fortunate to have. Some of you right here with me for twenty years since First Break All the Rules. How lucky I am to have you. It felt strange to me that the Live2Lead audience knew something you didn’t, so I thought the respectful thing to do would be to share with you the clip of the speech that John sent to me.
I hope you take a few minutes to watch. And I’d love so much to hear from you.