Leggo the Ego

 

Saturday morning started with a long hot shower, some fresh coffee, and a sundress before heading off to the hairdresser. It was a big day for our family as we prepared to attend an awards gala honoring my father. The day was reminiscent of preparing for prom where your whole day is dedicated to feeling refreshed and pretty in time for the �big event.� As the five o'clock hour came around, we were all ready to go in floor-length gowns, tuxedos, and enough hairspray to be considered a fire hazard. The event venue was stunning. Chandeliers, floral arrangements, a full theatrical stage, and plenty of local �VIPs� in attendance. I wandered the room with my Pinot Grigio in hand, anxiously awaiting the ceremony which would highlight the people associated with my alma mater that were making a true impact in our world.


The Young Alumni Awards were presented to extremely impressive entrepreneurs with a lightning bolt of energy attached to them. But what really captivated my attention that night was the common thread of humility and gratitude found in the two speeches made by the honorees. The founder of Vizio got up to make his speech and I was anticipating a powerhouse story of hard work and sacrifice, but instead he delivered a speech centered around the encouragement of loved ones and overcoming his failures in order to carry on with his career. It was charming, humble, and full of admiration for his wife and mother. The concluding speech of the evening was made by the wife of the current CEO of Trader Joe’s who could not attend the event as he was home ill from his chemotherapy treatments necessary for battling leukemia. She eloquently presented the speech that her husband had written and, again, it was filled with humility and gratitude toward loved ones.


The entire room of 1,500 people was pin-drop quiet for the duration of her 15-minute presentation, and she undoubtedly deserved the standing ovation. Her speech opened by acknowledging each family member in attendance and a thoughtful detail about their accomplishments. She then talked about the 32-year marriage that she and Dan have enjoyed together and pictures flashed of the many family occasions they celebrated. Only for a few minutes did she talk about his time with Trader Joe's and what this company meant to them.

The financial success achieved by each of these men, as indicated by their speeches, was only a small piece of what defined their lives and character. They emphasized family, unconditional love and support as well as gratitude for the opportunity to make a difference. In a world emphasizing the ego, they were a breath of fresh air and a poignant reminder to let go of the ego.

Images courtesy of Crystalwashington.com, Blogs.palmbeachpost.com

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