A Group of People

Fatherhood, The Corporate Life, and that Which Matters

In corporate life on June 1, 2011 at 6:30 am

By Gunnar Simonsen

I took a walk today. Scratch that… it was a hike and let me tell you, my calves are burning to the point that even my dogs are looking at me funny as I try to walk through my house.

Of course, I blame myself. I was just at the same park the day before and apparently didn’t learn my lesson.

But who could blame me? The trail overlooks the farm country just outside of Portland and winds through a plethora of scenery ranging from prairies, forests, and meadows.

But to be honest with you, what brought me back was the opportunity to leave my phone and iPod behind and spend uninterrupted time with my daughter. (of course, she had her phone just in case my heart got the best of me. LOL)

It was an opportunity to seek and regain something lost from my daughters early years before we had all this technology constantly filling up the airwaves between our ears.

It was an opportunity to be what I wasn’t too good at for a great many years while heading up several retail companies in the corporate world working for one of Portland’s richest men….

The opportunity was to be an engaged father where my time was my daughters time. Nothing else had access. Nothing else mattered.


Sitting on a bench just after the steep climb next to my daughter as we looked out at the hills, farmlands, and beautiful scenery before us, I took a breath and realized that which I had been missing all along.

What had I been thinking all those years feeling guilty if I took a moment to not think about work or took a day off, or quite frankly… live?

Between my constant updates on sales, or prepping for those phone calls from upstairs, to studying and researching articles night and day, when did I get fooled thinking I was being there for my daughter… my only child when truth be told, my mind was always somewhere else that was work related.

When did I get fooled thinking I could play that game and that it was all worth it? What does success bring one if you lose your family seeking it? For that matter, define success.

Not that we didn’t do good with some great people around me back in the day, it’s just I lost sight of that which really matters. That which really matters doesn’t have a title, a parking spot, or an extra set of zero’s at the end. Not that I didn’t know what truly mattered, it’s just that my life didn’t always reflect that I knew what really mattered.

In this, we must never allow our jobs to define who we are, we must define who we are and in this, define the jobs we do.

For me, I sadly sometimes wonder if I had ever truly knew what mattered.

Today on top of that hill, I learned to live again. And in this, I am learning to live through the pursuit of that which really matters in life.

For me, that which truly matters is a set of eyes looking back at me saying… Daddy, I love you too. To me, that is what success looks like.


Will I ever return to corporate life? Not sure I ever truly left it. But either way, one thing is for certain, this time… I know what really matters. Focusing on that first, will bring the right kind of success later.

Does how you are living reflect that which truly matters in your life? If not, what adjustments can you make to reflect these things more accurately?


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