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Andy Leonard

Andy Leonard is an author and engineer who enjoys building and automating data integration solutions. Andy is co-host of the Data Driven podcast. Andy is no longer updating this blog. His current blog is

What Matters Most

The end of the year is a study in extremes. For many, it is a time of merriment and celebration. For some, it is yet another day to survive.

I believe most people reflect on the past year as it draws to a close. We think about the things that happened over the year: the accomplishments of ourselves and others; goals set and met; goals not met; gain; losses; and the inevitable change that happens to us all every year. It’s likely this year has been a mixed bag for you as it has been for me. There have been high highs and low lows.

Examples? Wow, there are many. Some subtle, some not. In roughly chronological order:

Do these things matter? Sure. But do they matter most? Not by a long shot. Here are some examples of things that happened in 2011 that matter most:

  • Celebrating another year married to Christy
  • The birth of my latest grandchild, Gabriel
  • Stevie Ray’s appendectomy
  • Riley starting school
  • Meeting with fellow believers at the PASS Summit for PASS Prayers
  • Meeting regularly with a small group of committed Christians to study the Bible
  • Participating in SQL Server  MVP Deep Dives, Volume 2
  • Starting Linchpin People with my friend and brother, Brian Moran

Can you spot the difference? What matters most involves people. Most of these events were incredibly positive – awesome, in fact. Some were and are great but are continuing to mature. I still cannot bring myself to think for long about Stevie’s appendectomy; the harsh realities of that situation still chill my soul.

High highs and low lows.

As the year has progressed, I have become more and more aware of how truly blessed I am. I deserve none of it, and yet much is given to me. A bunch of it comes my way as a winner of the Birth-Nation Lottery. We have so much in America. As I read recently on a friend’s blog, many of America’s poor post on Facebook or Twitter about their needs and concerns from their iPhones. Destitution exists in America, but this isn’t it.  This isn’t the poverty others experienced as children. The fact that most of America’s poor are among the richest in the world is a thing of mixed emotions. I hurt to see anyone in poverty – in America or elsewhere – and this pain is motivating.

Motivating For What?

I believe I can do better and more to help. The faith I share with millions compels me to do more. So I am doing and will do more. My watchword for 2012 is “intentional”. Plans are already underway to intentionally work to reduce the poverty of those in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere. I don’t know how many of these actions will make it to the annals of this blog. I am certain some of these activities will appear here, though they will likely not be advertised in the category of “reducing poverty”. I will have no such category on this blog. Or any blog.

I have endeavored my entire career to give back. This will continue, though with a bit more focus, planning, and (yes) intent.

I am truly blessed to have a business partner who shares faith, philosophy, and a desire to implement positive change in the workplace. Brian has taught me much technically, but he has taught me much more about endurance and faith. I am honored to work with him. We are endeavoring to create a different kind of business; one that enables what Tom Nelson calls “human flourishing” in Work Matters. That sounds lofty, mostly because it is. The Linchpin People website went live earlier this month even though we’ve been in business since April. We are architecting Linchpin People to be different, and different takes time. We are building a culture by defining a philosophy. Beyond that, we are cognizant of the movements around us. We are leveraging them at a minimum; we may be starting a movement – time will tell. I would love to share an optimistic story with you, but the starkness of our beliefs compel us to face the reality: this may succeed or this may fail. Only time will tell.

That’s not all. But that’s all I want to share here and now.

Be Intentional

I want to encourage anyone so inclined to be intentional in 2012. I lack the words to adequately express how it feels to know something you did made a difference in someone’s life. Suffice it to say it is unlike any other positive feeling  I have experienced.

Help someone less fortunate. Be there for people who need you. This isn’t always as straightforward as it sounds, as sometimes tough love is what they need most.

We are a community of brilliant problem-solvers. Can you imagine what we can accomplish if we simply put our minds and hearts and hands to it? Just think of the things we can do; things for people; things that matter most.


Published Sunday, December 25, 2011 8:00 AM by andyleonard

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