What Matters Most


On September 20th a neighbor of mine was driving home when he began not feeling well. He knew something was very wrong and called 911. It turned out Bill had a brain tumor, one that had shifted his brain several millimeters. The doctors operated to remove his tumor and were able to remove it successfully, however the tumor was malignant and will require radiation and chemo to fully eradicate the cancer.

Watching Bill and his family over these last 10 days has been an emotional journey as our neighborhood has prayed, hoped, and stood with them as it became clear that they had a long road ahead of them. While we do all we can here to help prepare them to come home so that Bill can begin treatment, I am challenged once again about my priorities and how I live my own life.

I have spent these last 14 months re-engaging with my family and struggling through what to do next, and how to utilize all of my experiences to do something that matters. While that process has been long and fruitful, it has also been frustrating. However I watched that frustration melt away as I saw a man who wanted nothing more than to hug his girls and get out of that hospital bed.

Yesterday a friend and I visited Bill in the hospital and I heard him talk about how he had taken so much for granted and he was going to cherish this time with his family. It made me realize that while work is important, and making an impact in my career is something I am wired to do, it is not what matters most.

What matters most is being a great husband to my wife, being a great dad to my kids, being a good friend & neighbor, and serving others. Everything else beyond those things is icing on the cake, and if I get a chance to do something that can influence and change other people’s lives in the marketplace, I’ll be thankful for the opportunity to do that. But it won’t be an all encompassing and life draining venture that takes me away from my family emotionally and physically.

Remembering the things that matter and not focusing on the things that don’t is what I want to be remembered for. Thank you Bill for your courage, heart, and the impact you have had on me through your journey.

Published by

Bobby Shaw

I am a former restaurant company executive with a passion for developing existing and future leaders to achieve high standards. I love helping organizations develop strong people cultures with an emphasis on leadership development that result in top-notch operations and better business results. I have over 30 years in the restaurant business in all facets of operations, from my start at McDonald's in the grill area in 1984 to overseeing 200+ restaurants with Chipotle Mexican Grill from 2002-2012 to leading Freebirds World Burrito's resurgence from 2013-2016 to working with the Salad and Go restaurant startup as CEO in 2016/2017. My real world experience transcends the typical operations background with a focus in leadership development and coaching. At the core of my background and experience, I believe that how leaders get results is just as important as getting them, and what got them where they are, won't necessarily get them where they want to go. I work closely with individual leaders and companies to improve their results through understanding how their strengths impact the overall results. My goal is to help business leaders and companies learn how to leverage the strengths of their employees by understanding their strengths and what they’re good at, and using that knowledge to positively impact their entire organization.

5 thoughts on “What Matters Most

  1. Thanks for sharing this Bobby. It in the midst of striving, I often forget to lay hold of the privilege of my situation. Oh how the grass always looks greener.

    1. Right there with you brother. You have been on my mind a lot lately. I look forward to all God will continue to do through you and your family. Maybe we can do something together someday! How cool would that be?!

  2. Here is something I read.. Thanks for reminding us Bobby. >A meteorology professor stood before his Meteorology 101 class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty glass mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

    The professor then picked up a jar of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open spaces between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

    The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar and of course the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous yes.

    The professor then produced two bottles of water from under the table and then proceeded to pour the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the grains of sand. The students laughed.

    “Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things — your family, your partner, your health, your children, your friends, your favorite passions — things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

    “The pebbles are the other things that matter, like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else — the small stuff.

    “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing. Play another 18.

    “There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first — the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand and water.”

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