Would you like coffee with that beignet?
I just came from lunch with one of my favorite board members. She is an amazing woman who, while in her “wisdom years” is a pistol and meetings with her are always a treat. She is a legend in her own right and every time I see her, I can’t help but wonder what she was like, oh say 40 years ago. I suspect she would have run circles around us all. But dazzling personality and personal influence aside, one of the things I like best about her is that she is a straight shooter. I know that no matter the topic, she will tell me honestly how she feels about it, without polite language to dull the message. She often apologizes after she nearly takes my head off, opining about one topic or other that affects our mutual interests and I always assure her that I respect her no matter what, because she gives me the unvarnished truth.
It’s critical to have people on your team who support your ideas, even if the are crazy ones. If you are in charge, you want people who will help you carry your dreams to fruition no matter how random they seem because: a) random ideas have changed the course of history, and b) all you can be is wrong. And yet, having two or three people who will give you a straight-up reality check are vital to supporting the mission.
So there we were, having lunch and she was espousing one stellar idea after another. As each course arrived, she had another great idea. I took notes furiously because when the good ideas flow, I pay attention. As lunch drew to close, I was grateful. I was lucky enough to lunch with a legend who gave me mad download of wisdom. I survived lunch in a French restaurant that is a cardiologist’s dream and I almost made it out, diet intact. And then my host ordered beignets. Fluffy, sweet, light as clouds beignets. Ah, me. The sacrifices we make in the line of duty.