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Sixteen years ago today I received a title change that has forever impacted the course and direction of my life.

Nothing had prepared me for all the responsibilities that would come with the title, but I knew I was the only one for this vital job. I think it is the greatest title one can earn. Of course, I was overly confident that I was ready for all the new and exciting things that I would experience and encounter along the way. I had seen others before me in the role, and I was certain I could figure it all out.

That first day I quickly learned that it was going to be much more challenging than I had imagined. It took many sleepless nights to figure it out early on, but everything eventually got on track. Yes, there was going to be help from others on the team. I would have many advisors, coaches, and mentors over the years, but those first days I was driven by a lot of fear, on very little sleep, and a strong desire to be my best with this great opportunity.

As I reflect on the past sixteen years, I realize I may not have exceeded expectations every day on the job. I have learned more about myself and given more than I could have ever imagined to the role. I know there have been days that I have flat-out failed. But, those failures, while overwhelming at the time, have built a strong foundation for who I am today.

You learn very quickly that you have to manage tradeoffs and make decisions for what is best for the role and not yourself. I even had to make the most difficult decision of my life and “burn the boats” several years ago to change course to ensure the future was bright for many years to come.

I have never looked back from each of those steps along the path. Yes, I could have done many things better and differently. Reflection creates a lens that is blurred by time.

The leaders that went before me in the role shaped much of my approach. They all made mistakes, had their missteps, and stumbles. I have and will too. This journey is not over–it seems like it is only beginning.

I’ve certainly put my unique spin on the role. We have had a lot of laughs and shed a few tears too. But today, today is a special day. Today we are celebrating a milestone. In a few short months, I will be handing over the keys and the responsibilities that come with them.

I’ve watched over the last few years as “my baby” has matured. I have new fears today. Have I done enough to this point? Have I prepared them for the future? Can they go it alone without me if they need to? Am I in the way; stifling their growth? Will they wreck the car?

Wait, what?? “Wreck the car?”

Yes, the title I have is not a new position within an organization. Rather it is the one I still feel unworthy to be called, as a father, dad, daddy, or early on simply da-da.

I earned that role when my son Zane was born sixteen years ago today. Happy Birthday! I love you! God has blessed me with a great son that is growing into a remarkable man. We have some short-term work to do on your driving skills. 🙂 Fellow drivers, you have been warned.

Happy 16th Birthday, Zane!

Make every moment count, product leaders. The time goes by fast! Sometimes the work can wait.

Psalm 127:3-5
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.