In the presence of the "empty nest" syndrome, I'm taking the time to ponder: How do I make my life count?

In the “empty nest” I’m asking: How do I make my life count?

The house is quiet now. Loud silence. Like the pause after the airline pilot shuts down the jet engines. Melinda and I just took our youngest child, Anna, off to college and today we are empty nesters.

The Personal Finance section of the Wall Street Journal spoke to “empty nesters” this morning. Apparently, we spent $250,000 per kid to get the empty nest. That’s before college. After Anna graduates, we will have invested more than $1 million in raising three children. Real cash.

How do we know it will be worth it?

At this point on move-in-day, we were all smiles. Melinda and Anna celebrated the tidiness of Anna's dorm room on the first day of college.

At this point on move-in-day, we were all smiles. Melinda and Anna celebrated a tidy room.

Gustavus Adolphus College – where we left Anna – is a private liberal arts college propelled by the mantra: Make your life count. It’s a place where good leaders work together with good intentions to make great things possible.

The college president Rebecca Bergman set the tone in her convocation greeting: “Students, we want you to explore a life of abundant joy!” That message hit me with powerful irony: that’s what I want as an empty nester!

What about my life from here?

President Bergman shared her personal insights as a parent of two Gustavus Graduates. She asked us to lead lives of abundant joy!

President Bergman shared her personal insights as a parent of two Gustavus Graduates. She asked us to lead lives of abundant joy!

Reflecting on the opening convocation caused me to ask: what other advice aimed at new college students did I hear that is appropriate for my consideration today? Becky Bergman should know…she had two students graduate from Gustavus and she’s thriving in the empty nest:

  1. Your life from here forward will be about learning agility, ethical judgment, problem solving, commitment, hard work and communication.
  2. Stay balanced, invest in your renewal and reflection and remember to get some rest.
  3. Thank your parents for helping you find and create a wonderfully warm, caring community.
  4. Grow, explore, learn: make your life count.

Carpe Diem: seize the day

Good Leadership Today FREE eBookSo, today Anna starts college classes and here at home we are off to the races again…trying to pay for all this. There is a deep sense of motivation and meaning in our business – pursing the idea that Goodness pays!   There is a promising path forward by helping executives, business owners and community leaders spread goodness in their endeavors.  It’s about learning agility, ethical judgment, problem solving, commitment, hard work and communication. It’s the right thing for Anna Batz at 18 and me at 51. Like Anna, I’m an empty-nesting freshman – ready to grow, explore, learn and make my life count.

Good leaders make a habit to absorb the message at ceremonial junctures in a rich life. And they find abundant joy in making their own lives count.

We encourage you to share this blog, and the Good Leadership Today ebook to help accelerate the idea goodness pays!

And please share: what success habits do Melinda and I need to absorb to make the most of empty nesting?