Sometimes being the CEO of an organization is inspiring and rewarding, but sometimes you find yourself in the wrong headspace and it quickly becomes stressful and overwhelming. Today started off as one of those days for me. After getting word late last week that a very close friend of mine had been unexpectedly hospitalized, I immediately canceled all of my weekend appointments and flew to be by their side. I had to return to Nashville this morning for a full week of meetings and as I boarded my flight at 6 AM, I started to feel the stress of my week’s itinerary begin to wear on me. My thoughts were racing, and paired with my concern for the friend I was leaving, I guess that stress started to reflect in my face. I was greeted as usual by the Southwest Flight Attendant, but she seemed to become more attentive to me as we got ready for take-off. She was really going out of her way to make sure I was happy. I thought to myself, “is my self-inflicted stress that noticeable? Do I look like I’m having a tough day?” She continued to make sure I was happy—offering me more Sprite Zero than I needed. And as I was getting off the plane, she smiled at me and tucked a note in the palm of my hand.
She asked if I would promise to read it and I agreed. I stopped by the restroom outside the terminal and unfolded the note she had written me. The words on it brought tears to my eyes. It quickly reminded me that the mission of Soles4Souls is so much bigger than me and my ‘problems.’ When you use your life to help others, you never know how those moments might affect their life. In the light of this note, my life and worries became smaller.
It reads, “I just wanted to thank you. My father’s first pair of shoes were made out of a used tire. He later became a famous track + field runner in Colombia. More importantly, he became the best father a girl could wish for. Keep it going.”