Tag: San Francisco
There’s a problem or two with diversity and inclusion efforts. It’s just not the one(s) you probably think. Similar to the efforts to increase employee engagement – if you can just win the hearts and minds of employees they’ll be more productive, have less turnover, and engender greater customer satisfaction – inclusion and diversity efforts in […]
It happens. You think you’re set in your job and somebody else catches your boss’ eye. They’re prettier (or more handsome) and project a better executive presence, or code better, and perhaps could charm the skin off a snake and sell better. The next thing you know someone has been hired over you in the […]
It's a common refrain; one that even ended up as a question for the digerati at Quora.
Just how do you keep life, like a river, from passing you by?
There are signals everywhere that you must do more to keep your head above water; even more if you want to "pull ahead."
A recent Fortune magazine article chronicled the life of a young exec who had her "home" in San Francisco, lived mostly in an apartment near her work in Menlo Park when she wasn't spending her considerable time on the road. She usually worked on 4-5 hours of sleep so she could plug into calls and meetings around the world's time zones. Friends, partner, kids, family - even a dog - weren't mentioned. Hunch is that they barely exist.
The essence of the question of "life passing you by" is what life?
If it's the type of "life" the young female exec from the Fortune articled lived, then you sort of end up living it like her.
Fortune's 2007 article on business guru Ram Charan - The Strange Existence of Ram Charan - chronicles a similar life, one that's guaranteed not to pass you by. Business work is his whole life; he sleeps in hotels, has no "home" per se, and travels endlessly.
Here's one of the ways, as noted from the Fortune article, on how Charan lives:
"Three days a week - on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday - Burr [Charan's EA/PA] and a colleague pack a cardboard box with shirts, underwear, and socks, perhaps a clean suit (there is a tailor at Neiman Marcus who has Charan's measurements on file), and maybe a V-neck sweater or a pair of khaki pants. They toss in toothpaste, razors, shampoo, a shined pair of 91/2 EEEE shoes, whatever he needs ("He doesn't buy anything himself," says Burr), and send it by FedEx to Charan's hotel, wherever that may be. The box comes back two days later filled with dirty laundry."
Charan is a brilliant, tireless, hard working guy. But here's the catch; he has no life - at least what most people would call a life.
But the way Charan or the young female exec operate is the way to "keep life from passing you by."
There is another way, of course. There is seldom just one choice, but often two or three.
That other choice is to live life - be a part of life's very fiber. Stay in the moment. Experience the life you have right now - not in the past, not in the future, but now. Another guy name Ram with an amazing life, Ram Dass, promoted the phrase "Be here now" to encourage and focus people in the moment.
If you stay in the moment life doesn't pass you by because you living that life. Right now.
This week my 9 year-old son Traylor and I are taking time off (President's week vacation for the San Francisco Bay area grade school set) on a road trip to Portland and back. On the drive up, as I fretted about the things I needed to do, or should do, I caught myself just in time to hear Traylor's laughter as he enjoyed a DVD of Tom & Jerry cartoons. As a kid I had laughed to those same cartoons, though probably with not as much pure enjoyment and joy. He is a great kid, and somebody who lives a full life in the moment.
It was a treat to catch the laughter, and to revel in the appreciation - mine - of being able to take time to be with him. Traylor's half-way to adulthood, and if the rumors are true he'll be wanting to spend time with friends, and not with his pop, in a year or two. Catching part of his life before be broadens the path to his own is a treat, a treasure, and something I'd never catch if I hadn't taken the time, and stayed in the moment.
Life passing you by? Only if you don't live it in the moment.
Ram Dass would be proud. Maybe Ram Charan, too.
Life Back West is an occasional set of writings focused on ways people, teams and organizations can be both more effective (doing the right thing) and more efficient (doing the right thing well). More about executive, career and team / leadership coaching services can be found at the “About J. Mike Smith and Back West, Inc.” sidebar or the “Hire Me” tab above. You can also read an online interview with me at WhoHub, as well as participate in my learning community courtesy of KnowledgeCrush.
It’s a common refrain; one that even ended up as a question for the digerati at Quora. Just how do you keep life, like a river, from passing you by? There are signals everywhere that you must do more to keep your head above water; even more if you want to “pull ahead.” A recent Fortune […]
Our 20 week-old Terrier-mix pup Porter’s maiden trip to Dolores Park brought back memories of the countless mornings and evenings spent with our much beloved, now-deceased, mutt Roady playing chase, kong fetch, and rolling on his back (Roady, not me) playing “sharky.” It may turn out that you can go back, but will you find […]
We all love comebacks. Those of us who are San Franciscans really love it when it involves our much beloved US professional football team, the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers are in the championship hunt this year after a long hiatus, playing for their first conference championship – a step before the Super Bowl and […]
You can lack efficiency and effectiveness in how you communicate. Or you can have both. Here’s how. As background, it always helps to be clear about what you’re trying to communicate. Simply pass on information, or engage in a discussion and check for understanding? Ask for feedback, or do a data dump and run? Great […]
The headline in the Wall Street Journal earlier this month blared “Employees with ‘High Potential’ Need to Know.” There’s just one problem. If you want to screw up talent, tell them they’ve got high potential – shorthand for they’ve been tapped and they’re great. Why? Research (Carol Dweck) shows that labeling folks doesn’t work to […]
The myth is that startups mostly exist in places like San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Austin, Portland and Boulder, Boston or New York City. That part is no myth; startups up do exist in those places. But there is another startup in the town where you live. In fact, it’s even got your name on […]
Who knew that hiring realities and a trip to my home state of Oregon would intersect. But they did. You know the deal. You’ve got a candidate or two from inside the firm to consider and candidates from outside that are in the vetting / interview hopper for the job. You end up – surprise […]
Only the hopeful and the perhaps the ignorant confuse voluntary associations with work groups. Yet the fact of the matter is that there are elements from the world of voluntary relationships that can help more than just a few work groups perform better and even have a little more fun. These opportunities for shared lessons […]