How Will You Measure Your Life - Section II - Finding Happiness In Your Relationships

Amarillo, Texas

January 7, 2020

Summary of Chapters 2-4

Our focus so far has been on how to use the strategy process to find fulfillment in your career. 

We started out by discussing what truly motivates all of us—the priorities that will lead us to experience happiness in what we do at work.

I then showed you how to balance a deliberate plan for finding a career that delivers you those motivations, alongside the unexpected opportunities that will always arise along the way. 

And finally, we talked about allocating our resources in a manner that is consistent with all these concepts. 

Get the three parts of the strategy process right, and you’ll be on track to a career that you truly love.

Many of us are wired with a high need for achievement, and your career is going to be the most immediate way to pursue that. In our own internal resource allocation process, it will be incredibly tempting to invest every extra hour of time or ounce of energy in whatever activity yields the clearest and most immediate evidence that we’ve achieved something. Our careers provide such evidence in spades.

But there is much more to life than your career. The person you are at work and the amount of time you spend there will impact the person you are outside of work with your family and close friends.

It should be becoming clear that the answers to all three of our questions are deeply connected. Try as you might, it’s very hard to wall off different parts of your life. Your career priorities—the motivators that will make you happy at work—are simply one part of a broader set of priorities in your life, priorities that include your family, your friends, your faith, your health, and so on.

Similarly, the way you balance your plans with unanticipated opportunities, and allocate your resources—your time and energy—does not stop when you walk out the door of your office. You’re making decisions about these every moment of your life.

You will be constantly pressured, both at home and at work, to give people and projects your attention. How do you decide who gets what? Whoever makes the most noise? Whoever grabs you first?

You have to make sure that you allocate your resources in a way that is consistent with your priorities. You have to make sure that your own measures of success are aligned with your most important concern. And you have to make sure that you’re thinking about all these in the right time frame—overcome the natural tendency to focus on the short term at the expense of the long term.

Doing this is hard.  Even when you know what your true priorities are, you’ll have to fight to uphold them in your own mind every day.

[If you have a significant other, talk to her. You don’t need to be a super hero and doo this all by yourself. Let your significant other in on what is going on in your mind. Ask for help. Ask for a different perspective. And listen to her input.  And don’t think talking about it once or twice is enough. Just like your strategy, this is a dynamic process.]

[Lotdy, I think we can all relate to the following paragraph]. I’m naturally drawn to interesting problems and challenges. I can lose myself in one for hours; solving it will give me a short-term “high.” It would be easy for me to stay late at work noodling on one of these challenges, or to be stopped in the hallway to have an interesting conversation with a colleague, or to answer the phone and find myself agreeing to work on something completely new and be genuinely excited by the prospect.

But I know that spending my time this way is not consistent with my priorities. I’ve had to force myself to stay aligned with what matters most to me by setting hard stops, barriers, and boundaries in my life—such as leaving the office at six every day so that there is daylight time to play catch with my son, or to take my daughter to a ballet lesson—to keep myself true to what I most value.

Introduction to Chapters 5-7

In the following chapters, we’re going to explore this more. But there is one topic that deserves some particular context. Whenever it is that you’re dealing with other people, it’s A tough task to control how things turn out.; nowhere is this more true than with children. Even if you’re armed with an abundance of love and good intentions, it’s a complicated world: kids have unprecedented access to ideas from everywhere—their friends, the media, the Internet. 

The most determined parent will still find that it is almost impossible to control all these influences. On top of that, each child is wired differently. We rarely have children who are exactly like us—or like each other—something that often comes as a surprise to new parents. Our children aren’t always interested in the same things that we were, and they may not behave the way we would have. As such, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that anyone can offer you.

The hot water that softens a carrot will harden an egg.

As a parent, you will try many things with your child that simply won’t work. When this happens, it can be very easy to view it as a failure. Don’t. If anything, it’s the opposite.  [GROWTH MINDSET! 🤙]

If you recount our discussion of emergent and deliberate strategy—the balance between your plans and unanticipated opportunities—then you’ll know that getting something wrong doesn’t mean you have failed. Instead, you have just learned what does not work. You now know to try something else. 

It also goes without saying that there are some tools available to businesses that we just can’t use in our personal lives.

Nevertheless, the following chapters can help because many of the problems we encounter in the workplace are often fundamentally the same in nature as the problems we encounter at home. If you want to be a good spouse, a good parent, and a good friend, then these next theories will give you a much better chance of creating the kind of family you aspire to and the kind of friendships that last a lifetime. 

But nothing can promise you perfect results. What I can promise you is that you won’t get it right if you don’t commit to keep trying. Intimate, loving, and enduring relationships with our family and close friends will be among the sources of the deepest joy in our lives. They are worth fighting for. 

In this section, we are going to explore how you can nourish these relationships—and, just as important, avoid damaging them—as you continue upon your life’s journey


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