Our lives are built more on moments than days, months and years, and those moments matter. Capturing significant moments bring deeper meaning to experiences, conversations, relationships and belief systems. They inspire, challenge, thought provoke, stir emotion and set a vision for leadership. This past week, a significant moment impacted our family and strengthened my “why” as a leader.
My wife, Annette, helps families shop for food at a local food pantry. She shared an emotional story about a mother and daughter she met this week. Walking into the pantry with her mother, the 9-year-old daughter was overwhelmed by the amount of available food. They were gracious, innocent and appreciative. With limited pantry points and healthfulness a priority, their choices were deliberate. Nearing the end of their budgeted points, Annette mentioned the weekly special of 15 oranges for half a point. The daughter excitedly walked back towards the oranges. As she turned, Annette caught the daughter’s casual glance to her mother and a quiet whisper, “Mom this is really good. We won’t be hungry anymore.” That intimate moment instantly brought my wife to tears. Moved by the reality that our children have never needed to be thankful not to be hungry.
The moment my wife told me the story, I was wrecked by the innocence and the wrongness. Why should a child endure hours, days, and many restless nights longing for something to eat? Why does a parent have to feel the hurt of not being able to feed their child? Why should 9-year-olds have to find happiness in not being hungry?
For me, the heavy emotion settled to renewed clarity, creativity and energy for why I do what I do every day. Our company, Elanco, helps chase the No. 1 disease in the world – hunger and malnutrition. It’s our responsibility as leaders to find solutions to ensure every person lives a healthy life full of excitement for tomorrow’s dreams.
But, what if my wife didn’t allow this moment to happen? What if I didn’t take a moment to listen to her story? What if we both didn’t get lost in the moment? I personally believe that God blesses us with these moments. But, we often allow busy-ness (business) to overshadow. As leaders, we need to slow down, open our eyes, and allow these moments to take us to the next level of leadership. MOMENTS MATTER.
Are you allowing yourself to fully experience the moments you’re purposefully given? After hearing Annette’s story, do you agree that ending hunger is the greatest cause you can get behind? Today, consider making it your cause.