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