The cover for the novel "The Executive Gardener and the Fairy"

If you had to do it all over again would you have spent so much time at the office or instead devoted more time to your home life?

A time to reflect before we return to our new work life balance.

Click here for the video readings: Part one :

Part two:

PDF COPY The Executive Gardener and the Fairy

This is the question I asked my father the day he retired. I selfishly expected him to say, yes I would have done it differently and spent more time with your mom and you kids. His answer in true Popeye style was “No, absolutely not, I am who I am because of what I did and no I wouldn’t have changed a thing.” I was hurt. I thought to myself really dad? You could see how much mom resented you being a workaholic. She spent much of your married life like a single mom while you worked late hours, traveled the world, and entertained other executives at special functions. Yes, as a family we had a very comfortable home and lifestyle but it did come at a sacrifice.

As my dad waded into retirement years, (and realized I wasn’t totally crazy dressing up as a fairy heralding servant leadership) he agreed to support me in my ‘fairy’ passion of lightening up the world by celebrating special events, employee recognition, and conducting workshops to provoke work teams to think of their workplace values. We like to say we did these workshops in hopes of lighting the candles and setting the table for teaming. My father was known as Sparkle and I as Dazzle. He figured out a magic trick to read people’s minds in determining their top workplace values. It was during this time that I committed to writing a business parable. I was planning that it would be light and playful filled with easy activities. After sitting with my father engaging in many philosophical brainstorming sessions, listening to his business stories that applied to our leadership ideas, revisiting the question about time spent at work, and applying his favourite pastime gardening, as a metaphor for servant leadership, The Executive Gardener and the Fairy was birthed. I wrote the prose and my father contributed seven true stories from his business career (he wrote these by the way). It was a far more serious and intense piece than initially planned. I told my mom, “It’s dad’s apology to you.” It should be noted that he used the rough draft as a support in signing his consent documents when he went in to have a cancer tumour removed from his back that was about to render him paralyzed…. the crazy twists of life.

In light that this week precedes Mother’s Day, I will be reading excerpts from this business parable. My father was only able to achieve what he did over the years because of the love and support of my mom. THANK YOU MOM! It was tough on her parenting by herself while my dad went to night school and worked up the corporate ladder. He was charming and loved by all at work. To top it off at the start of their marriage my dad was not the easiest, as he was pretty wrapped up in the traditional ‘I’m the king’ of the household mentality when he was home (this of course changed over the years). As such, I think my mom sometimes felt like the lonely unappreciated homemaker. My father on the other hand, thought he had her blessing and was the best provider. His ego overshadowed any communication or nuances in their relationship. They truly loved each other in service BUT because of the business of work, home and stilted communication their relationship really only relaxed and blossomed after retirement when they each had the time to truly see each other’s perspective.

I will take a break from readings and leave the final chapter for Father’s Day. This story is available as a down load for free on my home page or through the link above. It is not great Canadian literature and goodness, rereading it today I can see edits I would make for the 100 times over! (Sharing one’s writing is kind of like standing nude in from of an audience who is going to critique your body YIKES!) I humbly submit my simple business parable as an offering of ideas, with which others can then create and/or readjust their own mission statement for work and life. The bibliography is meant as a portal to discover servant and love based leadership, Namaste!

Dazzle’s Challenge:

It’s better to fully communicate perspectives with your partner and family before your kids are teens and above all before your retire.

Ask yourself: Am I happy with my personal and family mission and vision for the next 5 years? Are they one in the same or if different are they complimentary and supportive of the other?

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