On Black Friday, we hosted a winter tailgating party to celebrate the lighting of this 52 foot tall pine tree in our front yard. 6000 lights of joy!

On Black Friday, we hosted a winter tailgating party to celebrate the lighting of this 52 foot-tall pine tree in our front yard. 6,000 lights of joy!

While most of America was wrestling for Black Friday deals, the Batz family was hosting a winter tailgating-party in Minnesota. Yep…we decided to party during the wintry, sunset hours in our front yard to celebrate a good life. Here’s why:

Justin Hanratty, CEO of Hanratty & Associates, taught me a wonderful lesson about goal setting and celebrating. In May of this year, he explained to the Good Leadership Breakfast audience his goal-setting philosophy: “I like to tie my business goals to something really personal in my life,” he explained. Each year, he sets a lofty business goal…and when he accomplishes that goal, he adds a special accessory to his side-by-side ATV. “Even though I can afford to purchase any of the accessories I want, it means something much more to wait until I accomplish the goal.”

Big goals, big reward

My 25 year old son, Ben Batz, wove the lights into the tree from a 50 foot bucket lift. John Martin and his sone Jake engineered the light configuration.

My 25 year-old son, Ben Batz, wove the lights into the tree from a 50 foot bucket lift. John Martin and his son, Jake, engineered the light configuration.

Immediately when Justin explained his philosophy, I knew what goal I would set and how I would celebrate.

On the northeast corner of our front yard in Bloomington, Minnesota, sits a 52 foot-tall pine tree. Fifteen years ago, my son Ben asked me: “Do you think we can light that big tree someday for Christmas?” Ever since I’ve dreamed about lighting our tree. And this year we did it!

With the help of industrious friends, we designed the pattern, created a plan, and rented a 50 foot bucket lift. Then on a sunny Saturday afternoon in November, we meticulously wove more than 6,000 lights into the tree.

What are we celebrating?

100 people joined the party for dinner and libations in anticipation of the tree lighting.

100 people joined the party for dinner and libations in anticipation of the tree lighting.

Owning a business is an honor and a privilege: earning and preserving the trust of bankers, employees, vendors and clients is amazing work. It’s difficult, satisfying and rewarding all at the same time.

Earlier this year, there was a special moment when I realized that we passed the “surviving” stage into “thriving”…and I knew it was time to light the tree.

The crew was all smiles in the waning hours of sunlight before the big celebration moment.

The crew was all smiles in the waning hours of sunlight before the big celebration moment.

So, we threw a tailgating party in our front yard for about a hundred people who encouraged us along the way. There was plenty of brisket and brats with all the fixins – and lots of liquid good cheer. My choice was Grain Belt.

At precisely 5:30 pm, we counted down: 10 – 9 – 8… 3 – 2 – 1 and fifteen years of pent up celebration ignited 6,000 lights of joy.

The deep thought

One of my favorite Christmas movies is The Gathering – filmed in 1977, starring Edward Asner and Maureen Stapleton. It’s a story of family reconciliation after Ed Asner learns he will soon die of cancer. The closing scene involves the full family united again – celebrating with a huge box of illegal fireworks.

I highly recommend this holiday movie: The Gathering. It inspired me to throw a huge party.

I highly recommend the holiday movie, The Gathering. It inspired me to throw a huge party.

I remember seeing that scene and thinking: why do people wait until “the end” to party like that? We didn’t wait.

Good leaders thrive because they understand the value of commemorating milestones in their lives. And they gather people they love to celebrate in extraordinary ways.

Good Leadership Blog - Batz Family Tree Lighting

John, from OrangeBall Creative, celebrated with us. His family is Cristina, Reagan (front-right) and Riley (front-left).

Please share with me: How are you celebrating your good life?