I am thrilled to wrap up the November series on gratitude with this final post from John Bossong. This is a powerful story that touched my heart and moved me to think about the path my own life has taken and how different events, some very painful, were important milestones in my leadership journey. When you look back on your life what are the events that shaped you into the leader you are today? Are you grateful for the difficult times? Did you let them become a positive influence or are you harboring bitterness that keeps you from realizing your potential?
April 3rd, 1983 is a day I’ll always remember. I thought I heard my mom on the phone. It was real early in the morning, about 4am. I laid my head back down on my pillow; I really didn’t think much about it. I woke up again, there was no mistake, something was wrong.
I walked into the living room and my mom was crying. She had just hung up the phone. “You will need to be strong,” is all she said. My dad had died; he had a heart attack in his sleep. I was 15 years old at the time.
I didn’t know what to think. Earlier that night we had been watching TV. I really couldn’t believe it. It was surreal. I remember it like it was yesterday, but it seems like forever ago.
I’m Grateful for That Day
That may sound cruel, odd and different. But, let me explain. I had a great dad, he was awesome. But, without his death happening when it did, my family tree would not be what it is today.
Two years after his death, I moved in with my older brother and his family. He was a youth minister at the time, married with two children. Less than a year later, I was baptized. Five years later I was graduating college and marrying my wife. A seven-year period that changed my life.
So, this one event (as painful as it was) changed my family tree forever. I know you have probably gone through similar things. We all do at some point. It’s how we respond that matters.
Have you thought about how grateful you are for an event or person that’s made a difference in your life? Where would you be without them or it?
I have no doubt that without my older brother’s willingness to teach, guide, serve, mentor and lead me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. You never know why something happens or you meet certain people. I didn’t realize the impact when it was taking place. It was several years later that I put it all together.
I don’t believe in coincidence or chance. I’m 100% certain God led me to Him, my brother and his family and my wife. Everything else in my life is a direct result of these events. Why? Because my dad died when he did, and God had a plan, that’s the only reason.
That’s painful, but it’s the brutal truth. Without that event, my life is different. I don’t know how, but it would be.
So, it’s not cruel when I say I’m grateful for my dad’s death. It was a blessing because of how God used it to change my life. It’s what you become, not where you came from.
- You can tuck in your children
- You can pray with your family
- That God loves you for who you are, not what others think you are
- That you are not defined by dollars but God’s grace
- You are free and live in America
- God blessed you with special gifts and talents
- Someone believed in you when no one else would
- Character is more important than career
- Relationships matter more than success
- You can give rather than get
Leadership is a choice. Be grateful you have the freedom to make that choice. You will have setbacks and pain. You will lose a job. You will lose a loved one. Be grateful, grow and learn.
What event or person has changed your life? Are you grateful for it? Did you realize the impact it would have on your life when it happened?
John Bossong is an experienced business leader and who is very active with his family and community. A great bio can be found on his website listed below along with links to connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Blog site – www.johnbossong.com
Twitter - https://twitter.com/JohnBossong