This is the moment you've been waiting for. ~Jack Lalanne
I've heard it said that corporations function the most effectively when in "crisis mode." That makes a kind of sense to me, I guess, at least in the short run. Crisis can pull people together, it compels group-think into a kind of Darwinian rationality, it causes leaders to rise to the challenge, it becomes a time of focus, of cutting away the fat, of committing to mutual survival. In fact, I've read that CEOs sometimes instigate a corporate headquarters relocation explicitly for the purpose of creating a "crisis mode."
This month, I will have been married for 26 years . . . all to the same woman! And let me tell you, it only feels like 25! (Rim shot! Thank you very much, you've been a great audience. Tell your friends. I'll be here all week!)
Joking aside, we've been through a lot: done a lot together. We've experienced spectacular highs and spirit crushing lows. Our best inside joke, the one that cracks us up every time, is to say, in both moments of crisis and jubilation, "This is the critical phase." Believe me, it's a funny joke, but maybe you have to have been there for the past quarter century, and like all humor, what makes us laugh is that it's true.
Against a background of commitment, be it to a successful marriage, bottom line profits, or loving our kids, every single moment of every single day is the "critical phase," each as vital as the next in moving life forward. Unlike those CEOs, however, we don't need to manufacture them (What hubris!). These moments are right before us every step of the way. They are the paving stones of the path of life. Sometimes they seem obvious, like our wedding day or the birth of a child, but really, these Kodak moments no more critical than that hug or walk on the beach holding hands. In fact, in looking back, it's easy to see that the most critical phases are often the ones we take for granted as we pass through them.
I guess this joke is just another way for my wife and me to remind ourselves of the preciousness of this moment, that the journey is more important than the destination, to love the one we're with. Or as Jack Lalanne says, "the moment you've been waiting for."
This is the critical phase.