My Reflections Part 2 – A Reminder of What Matters
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

As promised, I am returning to my 2023 reflections. As I look back on 2023, I was very blessed. Our youngest son Tim married an amazing young lady in June. That event had to be my highlight of highlights. As a result, my wife and I were back to being just the two of us for the first time in 39 years. In my seven pages of notes, I also found some additional gems.

This quote from John Wooden, “Talent is God-given, be humble. Fame is man-given, be grateful. Conceit is self-given, be careful.”

John Maxwell’s “Three Pillars of Potential” also stood out to me:

  • Grow in Awareness
  • Grow in Strengths
  • Make the Right Choices

Perhaps one of the most profound quotes I heard in 2023 was this: “As the leader, you are not responsible for whether they succeed, but you are responsible for whether they learn something from it or not.”

Now my biggest takeaway, which also crossed into every aspect of my life, was a reminder of what really matters. As I went through my 365 days of notes, the highlights were most often experiences I had with people. Sure, there were a few entries of things like getting my new-to-me Ford, but they were very few. The gems in my year were time spent with people. Some were sad, like the funeral of one of my spiritual mentors who we lost way too soon, and the passing of one of my Maxwell Leadership mentors at the age of 60. Overwhelmingly, most were happy joyous times that carried significant meaning.

In my personal life, as mentioned previously, Tim and Kari’s wedding was an incredible highlight of the year. Spending some vacation time with family was also at the top. Yes, 10 grandkids can make someone crazy at times, but it sure is worth it. Fishing with my boys, and watching Jeremy catch his personal best largemouth bass at an estimated weight of 6.5 to 7 pounds was so exciting. Other highlights include winter mornings skiing with my kids and grandkids at Song, Labrador, and two trips to Gore. Most of these experiences also included a photo to memorialize them. Last but certainly not least, the special times with my favorite Austrian—my wife. In September we took a cruise with my cousin and her husband around the Canadian Maritime Provinces. Such sweet times together.

Let’s shift to my work life. I have so many entries about training sessions and coaching sessions where people talked about breakthroughs they had made. Comments that I was able to hear during 360 calls like this one, “She helped me find my purpose in life.” When I finished up a five-week Supervisory Leadership program one of the attendees commented, “Each week when I drove to class, I had a question in my mind and each week you answered my question.” What made this such an impactful comment for me and the class was that he added, “But I never asked the question.” He came prepared to learn and had an open searching mind.

As I was thinking about my year in review, I remembered the famous words by Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you said and did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” People in 2023 shared their lives with me and made me feel very powerful emotions. Emotions that made my year a real blessing. As my friend and mentor John Maxwell always says, “A leader touches the heart before they ask for a hand. Make sure you block out time for your family in this new year, and as I walk further into 2024, it’s my prayer that I can be a tool to help people experience joy and purpose in months to come.