Monday, January 16, 2006

Walking the Tight Rope

I read a great book on the weekend “Walking the Tight Rope” by Dr. Tom Barrett. Although I thought it was great, many people would not get a lot out of it and certainly would not get the same things out of it that I did.

The book is about balancing family and professional life. I did not fully “get” the book as one underlying assumptions of people who talk about balance is that they do not like their work. This is an assumption I cannot accept. I am also of the belief that most truly successful people are not very balanced.

What I did get from the book was the continued importance of being real regardless of ones position. There is a tendency in life as one becomes more successful for everyone to shield them from the bad news. There is a temptation to talk and lose the ability to listen. Part of the key to continued success is to not lose the ability to listen.

The book is targeted towards members of congress. All of the examples and advice is centered around public life. It talks about how the job changes the person (something I believe). The key is to have control over what changes you allow.

One quote used is “too soon old, too late wise”. My quest for wisdom continues.

4 Comments:

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Sue Richards said...

I'm curious, if success doesn't include balance, what does it include?

Sue

 
At 2:23 PM, Blogger Jim Estill said...

The first challenge is to define success. To me success includes satisfaction and acceptance with where I am in life. Not neccesarily balance though as the world sees it.

 
At 5:36 PM, Blogger Irrehs said...

Hi Jim,

I looked up your blog after reading your article in Guelph's Moving Business Forward magazine. While I enjoyed some blog surfing I was hit by your words: "I am also of the belief that most truly successful people are not very balanced." Jim, I think you're right.

I nearly lost my family to my success. Fortunately my hubby stuck around for the mother-load that I got when I sold my company last spring. I recognize that he's the one that kept us together. I promised him that on my next venture I would be “balanced”. Always driven for success, I came to the realization that I wasn’t acting very balanced as I was jetting across three time zones so I could have breakfast with him on a Saturday, only to turn around and head back out across the country to land the next deal 12 hours later.

40 hours a week in the air and 100 hours a week in front of clients left a whopping 28 hours for him, divided by 7 days and we could pack in four hours of prime together time, if only I didn't have to eat or sleep.

So... I kept my promise. I quit. (Right after the mother-load paycheques someone ELSE was signing had started to roll in with predictability- Sigh.)

That left me with a beautiful husband and the world's best pooch. I looked forward to reading, cooking, hanging out and doing nothing for a while. It was a fabulous ten minutes.

I moved into my next role and made the best decision I possibly could. I told him that as much as I wanted to be perfect in every aspect of my life apparently it was not going to happen.

Now, running a beautiful marketing firm working with some of the best young minds in the industry with the most incredible sense of humour you can hope for in a team, I do everything I can to balance. I go home for lunch; I don't work late on nights he's not and (shock) I have made a point of having breakfast with him every Saturday morning for the past 8 weeks.

And since success still seems to be something that I achieve, I'm ok not being perfectly balanced.

 
At 5:37 PM, Blogger Irrehs said...

Hi Jim,

I looked up your blog after reading your article in Guelph's Moving Business Forward magazine. While I enjoyed some blog surfing I was hit by your words: "I am also of the belief that most truly successful people are not very balanced." Jim, I think you're right.

I nearly lost my family to my success. Fortunately my hubby stuck around for the mother-load that I got when I sold my company last spring. I recognize that he's the one that kept us together. I promised him that on my next venture I would be “balanced”. Always driven for success, I came to the realization that I wasn’t acting very balanced as I was jetting across three time zones so I could have breakfast with him on a Saturday, only to turn around and head back out across the country to land the next deal 12 hours later.

40 hours a week in the air and 100 hours a week in front of clients left a whopping 28 hours for him, divided by 7 days and we could pack in four hours of prime together time, if only I didn't have to eat or sleep.

So... I kept my promise. I quit. (Right after the mother-load paycheques someone ELSE was signing had started to roll in with predictability- Sigh.)

That left me with a beautiful husband and the world's best pooch. I looked forward to reading, cooking, hanging out and doing nothing for a while. It was a fabulous ten minutes.

I moved into my next role and made the best decision I possibly could. I told him that as much as I wanted to be perfect in every aspect of my life apparently it was not going to happen.

Now, running a beautiful marketing firm working with some of the best young minds in the industry with the most incredible sense of humour you can hope for in a team, I do everything I can to balance. I go home for lunch; I don't work late on nights he's not and (shock) I have made a point of having breakfast with him every Saturday morning for the past 8 weeks.

And since success still seems to be something that I achieve, I'm ok not being perfectly balanced.

 

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