Two weekends ago was the 7th anniversary of the death of my father, a man I loved deeply, and one who probably loved me even more. But with all the hustle and bustle of leading my growing company, delivering keynotes and training seminars, promoting my new book Never Eat Alone , and trying to fit my personal life in between, the day practically passed without me really reflecting at all.
Then, on a dreary evening flight to Chicago, I decided to turn it all off for a minute. Instead of starting to pump out replies to the 1,448 backlogged e-mails in my inbox, I just took a deep breath and thought about my dad, Pete Ferrazzi. Scenes from all the way back in my childhood raced through my mind; he taught me timeless lessons simply by the way he went about everyday life. He contributed so much to what I am today — and through that, what my book is about and even the principles I founded my business upon.
I felt so moved that I had to write about him. I wrote about my dad and what I was feeling and what he taught me for my e-mail newsletter, in which I try to pass on what I’ve learned from great people like my dad. When I finished, I was exhilarated. My eyes were tearing up, but I was exhilarated. Just writing it was a real joy for me. However, my “professional” conscience told me it might not be appropriate for my readers. So I asked my team if they thought we could use it. They overwhelmingly approved, so I sent it out.
I was absolutely shocked by the response! All kinds of people wrote back, thanking me for sharing with them, some saying it was one of the few letters that really got through to them in years. I got so much positive feedback that I posted the whole thing on my blog, hoping it would help even more people.
Afterward, someone told me that Fast Company editor-in-chief John A. Byrne wrote a similar (and definitely more eloquent) tribute to his father after his passing last April. It struck quite a nerve, too, apparently. Read it, and check out the 35 comments, as well.
Makes me think: I know how good it felt to bare my soul and share something so personal. I’m sure John would say the same. And of course, the voices of our readers cannot be ignored. So I ask you, as entrepreneurs, might it even be good for our companies if we stopped trying to be so professional all the time and took more moments to be human? It’s during these moments of truth and vulnerability that we establish trust among those around us. So, why not put ourselves out there a little more?