The shooting in Newtown on Friday helps show what is truly important from what we think is important, especially in our business lives. Seeing what the families of the victims are going through and the acts of heroism by school staff is a good contrast to the importance of things that occur at work.
It’s not that bad
People often talk about their terrible year or awful day at work but what happened on Friday shows just what bad is. If the game you launches does not do well, if your company has down-sized and you need to find a new job, if you were unable to raise investment capital and had to close down, if your boss promoted someone not as gifted as you to a senior position, you may feel things are terrible. Now compare these events to a parent who has lost a child or a husband who has lost a wife … and you realize just how minor your problems are.
You are not that great
Conversely, do not let your successes create an inflated sense of importance. Does raising that new round of capital define you as a success? Does selling your company for $100 million or even $50 billion mean you are the person you want to be? When I read the story of Vicki Soto, the teacher who gave her life to save some of her students by shielding her first-grade students, I feel she has achieved much more than Mark Zuckerberg or Sean Parker (no offense to them).
I hope we can all use the tragedy last week to better understand ourselves and our situations.