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Onward!

As many of you know, I am an athlete in addition to a compliance consultant and business owner.  This weekend (May 22, 2016) I participated in the Bloomin’ Metric, a 60-mile bicycle ride in Connecticut.  I participated to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, a charity near and dear to my heart after my father was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2011. He endured two years of intense treatment that nearly killed him a couple of times and yet has given him 3+ years of remission – and we are, happily, still counting.  These years have given him, his friends and family, much joy.  There are many ways to measure quality of life in such a circumstance and for me, my biggest hope during my father’s treatment was that he would be able to get back on his sailboat, as sailing on Saratoga Lake has been a passion of his since my childhood. 

Yesterday, the first thing I saw when I got up to get ready for my ride was a group email from my father saying he has decided to sell his sailboat.  I was deeply saddened by this news and I had a hard time shaking that sadness as others on the distribution list responded to him.  As I rode my bike I kept thinking about how that boat had been my motivation while my father was so sick – how big it became in my head and how happy I was every time I heard he had been able to get out on that boat over the last couple of summers. 

What does this have to do with insurance compliance? Maybe nothing – but it does have to do with what motivates me in life, in compliance and in business.  I am motivated by people.  I am motivated by my family.  I am motivated by my employees.  I am motivated by our clients.  What matters to them matters to me and keeps me going.  I am so proud of our work together because I think compliance matters to our industry and to the customers of our industry’s firms, large and small. 

I don’t know about you, but I get tired sometimes.  Those motivators keep me going.  They keep me strong when I feel like the obstacles are big.  Chemotherapy is big but my father kept going.  If he could do it, so can I.  The hill at mile 40 was big, but I kept pedaling and got to the top.  What happens in my employees’ lives matter and that keeps me going every day.  What happens to insurance consumers matters and that keeps our business going.  It is easy to feel far away from the end result, but finding a symbol – for my father, it was the sailboat – can help keep it real.  What I really wanted for my father was for him to be alive. And he is.  Sailboat or not.  That is really what matters to me. 

Our work is also important – I think very important.  I think compliance is a very important job.  Do we do the same thing as we do that job? Do we focus on the sailboat when what matters is the life? I think we do sometimes.  This week, fresh off my bike ride, I am focusing on my work as the life and not as the sailboat, because that is but one measurement of what it means to be alive.  Ultimately a sailboat is not a very good measurement of a life at all.  To you, Dad!  Onward!!