Breed is the term used to describe wines that achieve classical proportions. The quality is usually elusive to describe, but you’ll know it the moment you experience it.

When I arrived the next morning, I walked straight to the Managing Director office. Brenda met me there with my French Press. I paused to observe the sight of my name posted on the door. Brenda had already ordered the nameplate before Bryson came to town. Actually, under any other circumstances, I’d wonder if I’d earned the right to have my name on that door. Yes! I have.

The view from the managing director’s desk was serene today. Aside from evicting the H&K folks and calling back all the people who’d been escorted out of the building last week, there was no change to the rhythm of life at the firm. We resumed at full speed and the energy was high.

While I was being racked I had a chance to jot down a few thoughts for my proposal to Noble Vineyards. I picked up the draft laying on top of the pile of priorities on my desk and smiled.

Before Jack Noble left, after Bryson and Ridley slithered out of the room, Jack offered me a job at Noble Vineyards, running all marketing for the family business and acting as direct liaison with the Keller Donohue team running the account.

I was honored by the offer, but I knew it was not my time to leave. This was a moment in history.

I already had three invitations to counsel other managing directors on their succession planning. I also was invited by Bryce Donohue to chair the Diversity & Inclusion Task Force for Keller Donohue, working with the Chief Talent Officer on a development program for women.

I thumbed through the proposal and landed on the word Syrah. I wasn’t thinking about wine. That little girl was the first person in my life to start unraveling that knotted ball of yarn in my heart. I knew that was a significant part of the process I needed to enter to forgive myself for the choices I made at 17. I’m not sure if I will be doing anyone any favors by showing up in Colorado, but it might be time to find out.

 

DISCUSS

Have you ever achieved the prize, won the victory and walked in wondering if you deserved the name plate on the door, the trophy, the promotion?

How do you remind yourself of your worth?

How would you describe elegance in your career – the height of mastery? Be specific because this is what you are building.

 

Prologue from Part 2 of the Executive Jane 360º series, “Wide Asleep.”

My bed is usually a respite, a safe place. These days it’s a prison, holding me captive in persistent awake-ness. My mind runs circles in a chamber of memories, fears, and worries as winter protests the month of May with yet another slushy snowfall that’s certain to delay everything two hours today. Colorado will be different than Texas. For all of us. In more ways than one.

As if on cue, I heard the cry. Not a gentle, “feed me” cry, but a shrill, piercing scream.

“How in the world can a mother sleep through this?” I threw off the warm comforter and reached for my furry house shoes. I glanced back at Frank to let him know, I got it. He was not inconvenienced at all. Sound asleep. Thankfully my robe was at the foot of the bed. I’d like to strangle him with it, but I let that thought slide.

The skylight provided enough glow from the moon to help me navigate the moving boxes in the hall. The bedroom door was closed. I prepared my ears for the blast of newborn lungs before I pushed the door open and ran for the cradle, scooping her up.

“Where’s your mommy, little one?”

In a moment it was all too clear. I didn’t have to turn my head to feel the chill that seemed out of place where you’d find a sleeping baby. I willed myself to look.

The baby sobbing in my arms, I turned to face a truth I didn’t want to accept. A empty bed. An open window. Curtains struggling against the pane as if signaling to me,

She’s gone.