Brian Dyson knows success. As the former CEO of Coca Cola Enterprises, his work impacted the lives of billions of soda drinkers around the world. Recognizing his authority and influence, Georgia Tech invited him to deliver the commencement address at their university in 1996.
But what he said about success was different than what most expected.
Many assumed Dyson would talk about how to best climb the corporate ladder. After all, that’s what he’d done at Coke. Others presumed he would talk about leading one of the country’s most iconic companies.
Instead, he painted an important mental picture for the future leaders by referencing a simple carnival trick:
Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends, and spirit – and you are keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends, and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.
We’re all juggling things that break. Let’s show the most care to those that are most important.
Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro. Bethany House Publishers, 2009, Pages 76-77.
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(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)