What Really Counts

New Year’s Day is the traditional start of the year for most people. For beverage folks, it seems to come with the start of the Spring season. Being a parent of two kids and a husband of a teacher, my cycle tends to run with the school year.

September starts a year of promise and expectations, followed by hard work, increasing knowledge and, hopefully, great achievement.

For me, the end of this school year has been an especially poignant one. So allow me to deviate from my usual beverage –centric writing to share some personal thoughts.

Last week I was up in Cambridge to partake in the joy of my daughter’s graduation from Harvard. It will always be one of the highlights of my life. To all of us who use work as the measure of one’s success, keep a proper perspective as to what really counts. If you can incorporate business into the mix, then you are ahead of the game. But make sure you have a proper balance.

The weekend before that, I went to my 40th high school reunion. It was an extraordinary event bringing together over 185 classmates out of a class of 400. Words cannot express the happiness and excitement of seeing so many people who had a major impact in your life. Barriers were broken down and years dissipated right away. Some had happy tales to tell, and others shared in some hard and unfulfilled lives. Everyone was real. If we could conduct ourselves in business with the openness and honesty displayed with true friends, we’d all be better off.

Within the framework of the reunion weekend, my son and his teammates won the New York City high school tennis championship. Watching their celebration, and joy made me realize why we all try to achieve success. Risk and reward go hand in hand. You must take a chance to realize your goals.

Last, I was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. Luckily, it was caught very early and I’m assured that there will be 100 percent success in treatment and recovery. Health is a most precious blessing we are given. Never take it for granted.

The reason I share this is as a precaution to all of you to be proactive in taking care of yourselves. There is no excuse not to be tested for colon, prostate, breast and a myriad of other illnesses that are easily treatable if caught early. On both personal and organizational levels, make sure you make the time and effort to ensure your health, your family’s health, and the health of your employees. Family, friends and health are all that count, and my recent health troubles have helped me realize that even more. Count on it.