During the funeral of former First Lady Barbara Bush, her biographer, Jon Meacham, made a subtle, but significant, statement. He said, “she lived a consequential life.” That statement stuck in my soul for a moment. The timing was especially important as I was considering whether or not to continue my almost 33-year career at Chick-fil-A or to retire early and be available to an expanded calling. Hearing those words, my prayer became, “How can I live my most consequential life in this season?”
When I was eight years old, I was quite certain of the one thing I wanted to be in life. Every Thursday night, I would tune into my favorite television show and watch John Boy Walton pursue his dream of being a writer. I knew right then that I wanted to be one, too! Growing up, I would sit at my own little writing desk and put my thoughts and feelings to paper. Those words turned into poems, stories and even a short book for a class project in eighth grade. During high school, I wrote song lyrics for a small, local band and was editor-in-chief for my award-winning high school newspaper. When the time came time to choose a college and a major, there was no doubt that I wanted to study journalism.
During college I had the opportunity to use my skills, but about half-way through, I realized that chasing my dream might not support me and I changed my major to business. I pushed my dream to the back of my mind.
In 2015, that childhood dream to write a book became a reality and my first book, It’s My Pleasure, was released. At the time, I thought I was writing something that might be valuable to the Chick-fil-A family as I chronicled the unique and incredible culture that Truett Cathy and early pioneers of Chick-fil-A created. Instead, I found that many, many people are hungry to understand how to build a business, grow a family and live a life with a sure purpose, a compelling mission and grounded in core values. People are desperate to live a consequential life.
All of my years at Chick-fil-A have been challenging, exciting and rewarding. Starting as an hourly administrator, I eventually had the opportunity to lead Talent and later Sustainability for this incredibly purpose-driven organization. However, the last three years have provided me an unbelievable opportunity to travel the country, and even parts of the world, to share the message of how to create a compelling culture and select and grow extraordinary talent.
Through storytelling, I have shared this message to arenas full of Chick-fil-A team members and also to ballrooms full of CEOs. The message has encouraged leaders at industry conferences and in smaller company conference rooms. It has traveled to China, India, Kenya, Guatemala and It’s My Pleasure has been sold in more than 30 countries. I never imagined God would take my personal story and grow it into a platform of influence.
Then I heard the statement from John Meacham about Mrs. Bush: “She lived a consequential life.” How can I live my most consequential life in this season – not just vocationally, but for my faith, my family, my friends and my community. How can you? Meet me back here tomorrow and I will share with you what’s next and what I learned about steps to living a Consequential Life.