I spent nine years at the MDRT level, 12 years at Court of the Table and two years at Top of the Table. But here is a little secret: It is much more rewarding when you reach Top of the Table at work when you have been striving to be Top of the Table at home.
Looking back and looking forward, there are some universal strategies that I think can help: We must adopt a Whole Person attitude to deliver Top of the Table-level engagement and connection in our personal life.
- Create and maintain traditions. A valued friend and MDRT member has spent most of his life single. Each year on his birthday, he throws himself a luncheon at a well-known Polish restaurant. He only invites his male friends, and they’re mostly from our profession. One time I asked him, “Why do you do this each year? And why do you only invite the guys?” He laughed, “Well, no one else would throw a party for me!” He explained further, “I only include the guys because this has become a way for us to stay connected and involved.” It’s now a regular tradition, not only in his life but also in the lives of many of his close friends. They look forward to this important day, his birthday.
- Gather together. Don’t underestimate the importance of regularly gathering together for family meals, no matter the size of your family, no matter who is home or who is not home. I never thought, looking back, that my family met regularly enough because we were a busy household. We had four children under the age of 5 at one point, which is a little crazy. And so I often felt guilty that our meals were rushed, that we sometimes missed them, that the conversations were not meaningful enough. I was so wrong. My daughter, Olivia, shared with me just last year a paper that she wrote as an assignment for a college freshman class. It is titled “The Dinner Table.” She captured the essence and the impact of our family gathering together imperfectly and irregularly for meals. Here’s what she wrote:
“This table has experienced my family at every milestone. It has a power of sorts, the power to unite. It is a central, inanimate, silent member of our family, as it endures and loves and laughs and ages and cries and prays with the family that sits around it. It is the constant, and it never passes judgment. It just is. And it has served the family as a place to let life happen for us.”
Isn’t that awesome? I look back, and I can’t believe all over again that the imperfect ways, the shortfalls we had in getting together had that kind of impact. I overlooked it.
Hear two more strategies in the new episode of MDRT Presents: