The end of the 10th year of the Good Leadership Breakfast was old home week for Richard Davis, who spent more than a decade as CEO of U.S. Bank, here in Minneapolis/St. Paul. He enjoyed a selfie with Anne Sample – CEO of Navigate Forward.

Contemporary research is proving what everyone’s grandma taught us: life is better when we find ways to be grateful. Last week was the culmination of the 10th anniversary celebration events here at Good Leadership. Business celebrity Richard Davis – former CEO of U.S. Bank, and currently the CEO of Make-A-Wish America – was the speaker at our 80th Good Leadership Breakfast Friday. It was the pinnacle of our programming, capping off our 10th year. Today I am feeling tired and grateful like the day after a family wedding.

The power of a wish

The Make-A-Wish Minnesota team posed on stage with Richard Davis (far right), local Make-A-Wish CEO, Mia Hoagberg (seated center), and me in the purple jacket.

Richard and I met through business approximately 15 years ago, when I was his executive team building coach. I am so grateful he answered my call to celebrate ten years of the Breakfast. Richard’s message from the stage was simple: Goodness is everywhere, whenever any one of us wants to make a positive difference in the lives of other people. It’s not solely about charity. It’s not about whether that goodness is public or private, big or small. It’s about creating a positive impact in the lives of people because it’s the right thing to do.

Richard Davis is the most energetic, impactful speaker who has graced the stage over the first ten years of the breakfast.

Richard Davis is a top 1% speaker in terms of enthusiasm and impact on his audience. I can’t do him justice with a short and pithy blog. You can listen to the podcast here to experience his message.

What I learned is the same aspirational processes we use in our executive coaching work, has restorative powers in the lives of children who are living with critical, life-threatening illnesses. When executives are “stuck” in their careers, we get them unstuck with expansive thoughts about how much better their lives can be if they grow through a difficult experience. As medical and healing science has improved, 71% of Wish Kids who receive “one true wish” from Make-A-Wish live to fully functioning adults. All of those who received a Wish recall the positive healing power of looking ahead to a life-changing experience.

Ten years ago this week, I was wondering about the course of my career. I was three weeks into life as an entrepreneur, dreaming about what’s possible without a paycheck, and two kids in college. Wow how time flies!

Simple gratitude

Last Sunday morning, I spent an hour in my favorite chair writing down the names of people who have been influential in our lives over the past ten years. The names flowed out of my mind like a steady waterfall of prayer. Speaking on behalf of my wife, my family, and our Good Leadership team, we are so grateful. For you. For our mission. For our work. And for how, together, we are all deciding to positively impact the lives of others. Around here, we call that goodness.