I celebrated my 60th birthday this week. I have loved the journey to 60 and would do it all over again, but I do not spend much time looking in the rear-view mirror. There is so much that I am looking forward to.
Instead of me writing about my 60th year, I decided to let someone who knows me well take the lead. Here’s what my wife, Melinda, says...
By Melinda Gau
Jeff is always up for anything. Just a couple of weeks ago, I volunteered on short notice to host book group at our home. He immediately grabbed the vacuum and asked what else he could do to help.
While he was willing to disappear for the evening, Jeff accepted the invitation to join in on the discussion. He had recently finished reading the book we were discussing and contributed to the conversation. My book group has been together for almost 14 years, and this is the first time a guy shared the time with us.
This speaks so much to the man I see every day. While he’s confident, he’s humble. While he’s driven, he is also thoughtful. When I first met Jeff in an executive group, I had a different impression.
Today, I have the privilege of taking over Jeff’s blog and want to share a few things that most people don’t know about him—and maybe wouldn’t expect.
- He’s a note maker.
At any given time, you will find a series of post-it notes on his desk, night stand or the kitchen counter to remind him about something. He also loves leaving notes for others to show he’s thinking of them. He leaves the sweetest (and sometimes silly) notes for me and has done the same for his kids since they were young. Just this morning I found one written on the banana that I was taking to work. He loves the people around him well—and is not afraid to show his affection.
- He loves to cook – and he’s good at it.
Jeff loves to eat out (especially when there are French fries on the menu), but he also loves to prepare his favorite meals at home. He enjoys hot dish on a TV tray as much as he does a fancy meal at a five-star restaurant. He’s known for his homemade pizza and stir fry, is really good with a grill—and makes the best homemade whipped cream.
- He’s super intuitive.
This may be the main reason why he’s such a great dad, grandpa, husband, friend and leader. He pays close attention to the non-verbals. I’ve never met someone who’s as good at it as Jeff is—both professionally and personally. He feels the slightest dip in my mood, and is sensitive to what others are experiencing, which allows him to manage the conversation or circumstance to make them feel comfortable. Whether it’s the pizza delivery guy, a new colleague or a neighbor, he genuinely is interested in people and frequently gets them to open up by asking them to “tell me your story.” His intuition allows him to see needs before others do, and he is often the first to offer to help.
- He really enjoys holidays.
In early September, Jeff started bringing out Halloween decorations. He’s always looking for new ones to add to the collection, especially ones that light up. We just picked up a new pumpkin made of wine-barrel metal while in Sonoma. And he’s already looking forward to Christmas. He likes to fill the tree with meaningful ornaments. We bring one home from all the places we visit.
- He prays a lot.
Jeff doesn’t take his health, happiness or peace of mind for granted and is constantly asking for strength, wisdom and discipline. We pray for each of these things every day—for ourselves, and for our family and friends. We also remember to give thanks, and to ask for support and healing for those in need. When he sees or learns about someone who is struggling, whether it’s someone he saw on the sidewalk, or something he read on Facebook or in the newspaper, he takes a moment to ask God to be with them. Discovering this about Jeff was one of the (many) things that endeared him to me.
Jeff receives a lot of credit and praise for his professional accomplishments, and I’m very proud of him for those things. But to me, it’s the stuff not everyone has the privilege to learn about him that makes him such a good man and leader. I’m glad I got to share some of them through this blog.