Recently I received a letter from the CEO of a not-for-profit corporation that is dear to my heart. After seven years of leadership, he said, he believed it was time for him to step down. The first reason he gave was that the organization needed new vision for a new millennium. As noble as that sounded, I did not buy it. The second reason struck me as authentic. It was time, he said, for him to live a more contemplative life than his present position allowed.
I am hearing the same thing from a woman friend of mine who is a partner in a big Atlanta law firm. She became pregnant with her first child, and while her belly grew bigger and bigger, she interviewed nannies and tried to figure out how she was going to cope with a six-week maternity leave. Then her son was born and she lost all track of time.