What Really Matters In Your Life?

Lesson number: 

Being a Monday morning quarterback, or an observer of others performance in the games of life, is always easier than being the quarterback on the field who has a half a dozen 300 pound men chasing them during game-time, trying to knock them out of the game. There's absolutely no pain in making comments as an observer, suggesting what other performers could have or should have done in the heat of battle. However isn't that what we all seem to do throughout life as parents; coaches; teachers; mentors; employers; or any other capacity as a way to help others "see the light?"

This lesson was inspired by an article I read in the July 2007 issue of Inc Magazine titled "The Way I Work." During this lesson, I will play the role of Monday morning quarterback, as an observer of the current lifestyle of the CEO in the article, who is obviously totally driven for immediate "financial success!" It would help to click on the link provided to read the article, in order to fully understand this lesson.

As we go through life, many individuals who were fortunate enough to rise to leadership positions in their company, organization or industry, did not get there by accident. It takes a great deal of passion and devotion to "make it to the top!" In fact the devotion to one's employees and clients can sometimes blind an individual into believing that the only thing that really matters in their life is achieving "absolute financial success" at any cost.

While reading the article mentioned about Bruce Moeller, the CEO of a 23 million dollar company, and his obsession with work, I couldn't help but reflect on my own obsessions as I ran my company before selling it a decade ago. What I thought really mattered back then, is so different from what really matters now in my life.

At this point in my life, I would be the first to admit that I wouldn't be financially independent if I wasn't obsessed with achieving success in my own business. However the price that too many entrepreneurs pay on their road to financial success is far too high. And it appears to me that Bruce has not figured that out yet.

One of the observations I made during reading his article was the roughly 110 times Bruce used the words I, I'm and I'll. He claims to be a hub and spoke guy, and infers that he needs to know virtually everything that's happening in his business. He's married to his blackberry and obsesses over 80-100 e-mails a day. He micro manages excessively and uses every ounce of his energy to do so. He ends his article by justifying his business strategy by saying "This is one of those (businesses) where you hope and think that if you do it right, it's the last job you'll ever have to have. You couldn't do this forever, but you could run at breakneck pace for three or four years, as long as you have a pot of gold at the finish line." From his conclusion, you get the feeling that he's trying to earn a lifetime of success in three or four years. I have known many business owners like Bruce, whose total operations and decisions revolve around the leader. What they fail to recognize is when they go to sell their business, there's little value to the company without the leader who must "dot every i and cross every t" to remain profitable.

Bruce also mentions in his article "I'll usually go to bed from exhaustion about 9:30. Then, typically, I've been lying awake thinking through things and trying to get through my night, fitfully. At 2 a.m., I pop up, my mind gets active, and I start scheming about the day, planning my strategy. I might fall asleep again at 5 a.m. and sleep until 6, just out of exhaustion." Add the terrible eating habits and lack of proper exercise to his lack of sleep and Bruce becomes a the perfect candidate to be called a walking time bomb.

The worse part about Bruce's situation is that he doesn't have a clue about what he's physically doing to himself. He is probably driven by what he believes is a noble cause to earn as much money as possible; in a short period of time; in order to secure "the good life" for him and his family. While most family members would like to enjoy "the good life," I believe that they would much rather share a happy and healthy "family life." Most highly driven executives never get this! They usually figure this fact out during their divorce proceedings.

Making these observations about Bruce's current lifestyle makes me wonder why it takes individuals so long to figure out what really matters in life. It's only when you fully mature, that you realize that SHARING AND CARING about those people in your life that are most important to you EVERY DAY is all that really matters. All those employees will forget you! Your clients will not care if you're dead or alive once you leave your business. And just about every other person becomes insignificant, other than those you love. Figure out early in life what really matters. Make the right sacrifices for the right reasons and make every day's journey the best it can be. You can never re-live yesterday!