Senior Relationship Manager, INW Private Banking Group, Washington Trust Bank
When I think of gifts, I do not think of items I’ve received, but of life experiences. I believe that if we as individuals could see our life’s journey ahead of time, we would choose not to go on it—and that’s exactly why life unfolds the way it does! We go through experiences that we would miss if we knew of them beforehand, and those experiences not only shape us into the people we become, but they uniquely prepare us to help others who are being shaped by their own journey.
Faith, for me, is my personal rudder. I like the story in the Bible: A world created by order; a creator who came for me, who seeks a personal relationship with me and helps along the journey of life. I’ve experienced enough to know that I don’t have all the answers. At some point we will all find ourselves seeking answers to questions we do not understand. I’m comfortable admitting I’m just not that good. I love the ability to read and meditate on the Bible daily, seeking insights for personal application to many of life’s questions or situations.
Age is a matter of the heart and the mind, and has little to do with years. That is my motto in life. I’ve been fortunate to know, both personally and professionally, a wide variety of people in my life. Relationships are my sweet spot, and the individuals who stand out are the ones who are “timeless.” There are many people who are young, but act very old—aged in the heart and mind, and then there are the very special people who are “timeless” and have no limitations or distinction in time. Until the day they pass, they are full of life, happy, active and loving. That perspective—or perhaps it is a choice—has always been my compass.
My three sons are my greatest success. I have been absolutely blessed with three amazing sons. They have all become men I am not only proud of, but also grateful to call my best friends. It’s an interesting experience when you start training your children when they are young, to become individuals who hopefully will make a difference in society. At first you’re trying your best to help them become who they will be, and then one day they are who they will be. I am very proud to say that each of my sons has exceeded my wildest expectations. Even at their current ages, they have already surpassed me in many ways, and I feel very good about that. They are my champions.
Keep your short-term decisions focused on your long-term goals. If you do not do this, you will find the rabbit holes of life. I’ve coached others, in both business and personal situations, and tell them the people you spend your time with become your future. Healthy relationships, healthy future; ill relationships, ill future. Days turn to weeks, and weeks to years, so stay focused in order to stay true to your path.
I believe success is being your best self. In other words, living true to who you are. I’ve coached not only myself, but also my sons, to visualize your best self when you get up in the morning. It does not matter what you chose to do for your vocation, but you must be your best self in whatever you decide to do. This will take you to where you should be, and if you have stayed true to whom you are, your natural and trained qualities will take you to your perfect place in life. Then, when you have found that place, you have found your own personal success. That is my daily focus.
What I am the most thankful for are my relationships. I am very thankful to have sons who desire to spend time with me, and for my amazing wife Cindy, and her mother, sisters and amazing daughters. I believe the lives of my wife and I crossed at exactly the perfect time for both of us. I’ve imagined how great it would be to have daughters, and Cindy feels the same about sons. Now we each have both. Life is funny from the standpoint of timing, and it is an easy trap to fall into thinking things aren’t happening on time when it comes to many matters of the heart. Comparison is such a distraction. From work to money to relationships, it’s easy to say, “It should have been that,” or “It could have been this,” but I believe in God’s economy there are no accidents in timing. Meeting my wife Cindy is a living, breathing example of God’s perfect timing. I intend to date her all the days of my life!
My career role model was Rick Odegard, a man well known to Spokane. When I met him, I worked for Seattle Frist National Bank. Rick was the manager over the Eastern Washington Region, and he provided me with my first opportunity to lead others. When he promoted me he said, “Hal I want you to come to Spokane and I will teach you more in three days than anyone else will in a lifetime.” So I did. When I walked into his office that first day, he said, “Hal you can do anything you want to in this bank. Anything, except two things: You can’t sell the building and you can’t sell company stock, but anything else is up to you. Just remember that the further you swing your decisions from my expectations, the better your answer needs to be.” I loved that. I felt empowered! To this day, I work from his coaching, and it is based upon that individual empowerment that I work where I do today. In my job I am empowered to get the job done.
What makes me happy is a personal choice to be happy. We really only have a few things fully in our control in life. Those are what we say, what we eat and our decision to be happy or not. The world chases being happy, but finding it is often situational. I’ve watched people who are unhappy find the one thing that makes them happy, but it lasts six months at most, then they are back to where they started. When I think about being happy, I begin by thinking about what I’m grateful for. I have so many things for which I am truly grateful. Just thinking about them makes me suddenly happier.
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