Being great, living an extraordinary life starts with waking up. Most people don’t even know they are asleep.

As the Jesuit spiritual leader, Anthony De Mello said, “They’re born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up.

Yet all is well, and though everything is a mess in the world, all is very well.  It’s an unusual paradox, but tragically, most people never get to see that all is great because they are asleep and having a nightmare.

On television there was a story about this gentleman who knocks on his son’s door. “Jaime,” he says, “wake up!” Jaime answers, “I don’t want to get up, Papa.” The father shouts, “Get up, you have to go to school.” Jaime says, “I don’t want to go to school.” “Why not?” asks the father.

“Three reasons,” says Jaime. “First, because it’s so boring; second, the kids tease me; and third, I hate school.” And the father says, “Well, I am going to give you three reasons why you must go to school.

First, because it is your duty; second, because you are forty-five years old, and third, because you are the headmaster.” Wake up, wake up! You’ve grown up. You’re too big to be asleep. Wake up! Stop playing with your toys.

And so it was that I began my lifelong search for the answer to the question: how can I be happy and satisfied?

I have read hundreds of books and attended courses on philosophy, leadership, psychology and human behaviour. The answers finally came for me in a deeply impactful way.

My experience revealed, that for many of us, true insight is precipitated through a crucible event that ‘wakes you up’, like a glass of cold water thrown on you and jolts you awake to reveal a hidden truth.

One day, while driving in the car with my daughter Rachel about 6 years of age at the time, she said to me, “Daddy, why do you go overseas all the time?”

I was completely stumped, trying to think of a rational answer that made sense to a six year old. So I blurted out something stupid like; “well so we can get more money”.

Rachel says; “why do you need more money?” I say; “to buy a bigger house and a new car”. She says; we already have a big house and a car. I say; “well maybe a beach house then?” She says; “Grandma and Grandad already have a beach house we can use.”

So here I am outfoxed by a 6 year old. I try to defend myself and so I ask her; “why do you ask me that question honey?”

I’ll never forget her answer, she said “I don’t want any of those things a new house a new car; I just want you and mum”.

It then struck me in that moment that happiness was about spending time with those I love, I mean that’s why I got married and had children in the first place.

I realised that my entire life is measured in moments of time all stacked up in a row like DVD movies and when our children had flown the nest, it would all be too late. Too late to record a movie in my mind of their sports games, music lessons, too late to reassure them they are beautiful and talented and can be anything they want to.

In the end it came down to what legacy do I want to leave in my life – a loving father and husband? Or a successful business person with money and so called success?

I invite you to think about the legacy you want to leave through your leadership.

Love to hear your thoughts.