I had never been exposed to such heat. It was 110 and the sun felt as if all its power was aimed at the back of my neck. I was a chubby 18-year-old kid from Northern California, what was I doing in the desert of Tucson, Arizona in August? I was ill-prepared and certainly not built for the elements. Yet, it was college and freedom. I was filled with both excitement and stark terror. All of this was running through my head as I struggled up three flights of stairs carrying a box of dorm room accessories for my lone friend that traveled to Tucson with me. My oversized glasses with the stylish photo-grey lenses were struggling to manage the stark difference between the darkness of the stairwell and the brilliance of the Arizona sunlight. The sweat that was pouring off me was evaporating at such a rate that I looked like walking salt lick. As I turned the corner to deliver the box to my friend’s room, I saw, from across the hall, a tall, elegant and beautiful woman.
The sweat that was pouring off me was evaporating at such a rate that I looked like walking salt lick. As I turned the corner to deliver the box to my friend’s room, I saw, from across the hall, a tall, elegant and beautiful woman.
I am not sure if it was the prolonged heat exposure or the blurriness caused by the light to dark struggle of my photo-grey lenses, but whatever the reason, inexplicitly, I thought I had a chance. I quickly went to my friend and asked her to find out all the details about this mysterious woman. I was planning to woo her into my arms. Well, it might have been love at first sight on my end, but it took a little time for her to come around. Yet, by November, 9th 1985, we were a couple. And, here we are, 30 years later, soon to to celebrate 26 years of marriage and 23 years of parenthood. There is a lot to be said for the chutzpa caused by sun stroke and blurred vision! Yep, I definitely out kicked my coverage.
Unconditional love is a powerful license to live fully.
This journey has been a gift. Unconditional love is a powerful license to live fully. Tough days of stress and pressure, of doubt and anxiety loose their grip on you when counter balanced by love. So many times, stressed and exhausted, I would come home after a business trip and tip toe through the house so as not to disturb. I would quietly go about getting ready for bed and would step into the bathroom to find under the soft glow of a lamp, my toothbrush topped with fresh toothpaste. It was simple reminder that I was missed and that I was cared for. Those same external pressures that accompanied me home, seemed far less daunting in that moment. All of us have to face these pressures. The expectations are huge; the speed of information is dizzying. Sometimes we feel as if our decisions are all life changing, they aren’t. Having someone or something that grounds you is key to being able to let that go.
When I would find success, the true joy was in the sharing. When I failed, which I have on many occasions, having someone to pick me up, dust me off and give me a hug, made me accept it as a component of growth. But, more than anything it has been her steadfast belief in me that has been so empowering. When I approached her about wanting to go out on my own, to start my own business, she said go. At the time we had two in college, but she did not waiver. I wanted her to have doubt, but she refused. She believed like she loved, unconditionally. The success of the business is our success.
I wanted her to have doubt, but she refused. She believed like she loved, unconditionally
I write and speak often about the importance that leaders know how to make people feel heard, cared for, valued and respected. The teacher of that lesson has been my wife. The confidence I have in myself, my willingness to take risks and my acceptance of failure as part of growth all stems from the knowledge that at the end of the day, I am safely under the umbrella of her love.
There is no call to action in this article or question to pose to the readers. Simply this is my expression of gratitude to my wife for her amazing gift of unconditional love and my wish that all of you who read this, have found or will find the same.
Thanks for reading.
Elliot Begoun is a Business Growth Specialist and the Principal of The Intertwine Group. His purpose is to grow businesses and business leaders. He helps organizations establish strategic guardrails, develop integrative leaders, foster employee enlightenment and practice mindful marketing. Elliot works with businesses internationally serving as a consultant, coach, speaker and facilitator.