I titled my blog Stop the Chase because the title helps remind me to stay active (in thought and action) around the topic of finding balance in life. So here I sit, as so many of us do, and dream about pursuing writing for a living, dream about being a 4-hour marathoner, aspire to be a cub-scout leader for my boys, dream about coaching my kids’ teams and I even have interest in helping our community through volunteer work. Does this sound familiar to you? Do you dream like this? If you don’t, have you forgotten about the dreams you might have had at one point in your life?
For 16 years I have been putting people to work for a living. In various stages of my career I have either been a recruiter (someone who is paid to find people or respond to employment applications and determine whether or not these professionals might add value to the company they are applying to), a recruiting manager (someone who helps coach people who were doing the former), a director (someone who tells someone how to coach people who do the former) and I even had a stint as a vice president of recruiting (a person who gets so far away from recruiting they probably shouldn’t tell ANYONE what or how to do), so after a 4 year run as the director/vp type, I took a role with a Fortune 500 company (in early 2010) to “get back into big corporate” and it only took 365 days for me to realize that the higher I climb the farther away from my life goals I seem to get. I write about and aspire to find balance and this newly found role was doing just the opposite. I was actually less and less balanced with a need for long hours, the hunt for new clients and the management of a team that worked in an industry that is facing large challenges, so I did what I felt to be necessary to maintain balance…I quit!
Yep…I quit and it felt great. It felt great for a couple reasons. First, I found an opportunity to go back into a recruiting role with one of my former employers, PricewaterhouseCoopers (talking, coaching, guiding and counseling people who are interested in coming to work for one company- instead of my previous decade’s worth of work supporting multiple organizations as a consultant). Second, I sought this opportunity out for the balance it could offer (after the realization of my personal and professional targets thanks in part to significant life coaching from my personal coach, Kim Knapp). And finally, this new role will provide me the opportunity to do some of the “family” activities I mentioned in the first paragraph of this article, which has me very excited.
I know that it has become very popular to talk about finding balance (but too few actually do it) and it is less than popular to talk about personal or professional dreams (ironic that so many probably dream, but our lack of balance disables us from finding the time to talk about those dreams or execute on them), so I am taking it upon myself to try and narrow my list of dreams and begin seeing them through.
Here are some areas that I am going to work on:
1. Be home more and have a smile on my face– I’d like to validate my belief that people can work from 830am-5pm, be productive while working and be engaging with their families in the evening.
2. Focus on exercise– I am a runner, but sometimes for the wrong reasons, so instead of focusing on runs to achieve “status” like a marathon completion or a personal best in a half-marathon, I’m going to run each morning, so I have the energy to support #1.
3. Write more consistently– I enjoy writing and someday would like to write for the purpose of inspiring action in others. The more I write, the better I’ll get (let’s hope) and the closer I will come to the realization of writing and speaking for a living.
4. Be more “present” with my wife and children– My wife and I are both active and both very supportive parents, but I am not always present for my family activities, as my mind wanders about work, life, etc.
As I see it, if people can focus on a narrowed list of goals, dreams or personal targets (as I am attempting to focus on the four areas mentioned above) then their behaviors should ripple out, in a positive way, to the other aspects of their lives and help to afford the personal balance and professional freedom they may be searching for. As my coach likes to say; BE, DO and then HAVE (“be” something you aspire to be, “do” the actions that are necessary to accomplish and “have” the results that you have been pushing for).
Another chapter of my journey begins on Monday and I’ll look forward to sharing more of it with all of you as the months roll by.