Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.
Recently, Mary and I spent a few days in New York City visiting family. We lived in “the Big Apple” many years ago when I worked for Citibank. During our visit, we persuaded Mary’s brother to take a trip with us down “memory lane.” Among other places, we visited our former apartment in Manhattan, retraced Garth’s daily walk to Citibank’s offices at 399 Park Avenue and spent time around Central Park, our favourite escape from the intensity of city life.
New York seemed much the same as we left it. One difference: every person on the street and on the subway was glued to a smartphone! When we lived in New York, personal computers and smartphones did not exist, which gives you a sense of our vintage. Also, Central Park had become really crowded. We used to be among a very small number of people doing long distance training runs there before it became fashionable. Today, a thundering herd circumnavigates the park every day!
I vividly recall my motivation in those days, which pre-dated my personal encounter with Jesus. Life’s meaning for me revolved around setting and beating personal goals. This motivation permeated all my activities from pursuing career ambitions to achieving new personal marathon bests. I was running 80 miles (not kilometres!) each week in Central Park and my second marathon time was well under three hours, which qualified me to run the Boston Marathon the following year.
Setting clear goals has great merit. In fact, it is difficult to achieve anything without clarity about where we are going. There is, however, a dark side. We can become so fixated on specific goals in areas like business, running and wealth accumulation that we do not pay attention to the ultimate questions.
What is the meaning of life?
Where am I going?
Is there more to life than what I am experiencing?
While living in New York, I was so focused on personal goals that I gave no time to these ultimate questions. This is reality for many marketplace leaders today. They sense there is something more out there for them but are too busy chasing their personal goals to consider what really counts. Most would acknowledge that their game plans in pursuit of these goals leave something to be desired. Is the pursuit of your personal goals sabotaging your desire for a fulfilled life?
In the Bible, Jesus put the issue succinctly:
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? (Matthew 16:26)
LeaderImpact exists to help busy marketplace leaders explore these big questions in a safe environment of small peer groups. For more information, please contact us.
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.