Intentional employee is all about how to be happy with whatever job you have. That does not mean that life should be all about work. There is definitely more to life than just work.
As I write this, I’m sitting in the convention center in Dallas waiting for my daughter’s volleyball tournament to start. This is a huge tournament with teams from all over the country. It appears here as if volleyball is what life is all about. That’s not the case either.
These trips with my family are about the family. Specifically, they are about my oldest daughter. We create memories on these trips that we will remember for years to come.
You have to do more than just work or play volleyball or even spend time with family. You cannot put all your energy into one thing for too long. You have to be multidimensional. A healthy dose of work, play and family will create a happy life.
It’s taken me years to realize this. Let’s look back on my career and how I’ve been. Maybe you’ve been the same way.
My unhealthy focus on one thing began in college. I was committed to graduating with five years’ worth of credits (150 credit hours) in four years. I didn’t want to pay any more than I had to for college. I studied, studied, studied. I didn’t enjoy college. I didn’t make as many close friends in college as most people do because I just wanted to have as high of a GPA as possible and graduate quickly.
Today, I’m convinced I would have been offered my job even without having such a high GPA. Sure, we want smart and committed people to work for us, but it’s not all about the GPA. I could have enjoyed my time more. Better relationships with more people could have even been a boon to my career today. Instead, I just studied. There should be more to life.
First Years of My Career
From the moment I started my career in public accounting, I knew I wanted to be a partner in the firm. Still today, that is my goal. The way I went about showing the commitment to that goal has not changed much in the last 12 years.
What did I do? I worked every minute I could. OK, that is an exaggeration. But my wife and kids would probably not think so. I worked late. I worked weekends. I worked on trips out of town. That’s still the case today. There should be more to life.
But…I’m trying to change that. Working a lot is required in my career but there are limits. Thankfully, my boss tells me frequently to go home and to take the weekend off. Typically, I don’t. It is nice to know I work for good people though.
Now I’m trying to plan my weeks a head of time and put time on my calendar for personal activities. If I don’t, I’ll end up in the office all day on Saturday. I’m also trying to allow myself to not think about work. We’re actually taking our first real family vacation this year. We need it. I need it. We need to get away and enjoy our time with each other. If we don’t go away, we’ll busy ourselves with our normal routines. There should be more to life.
While I still plan on working a lot. I’m going to be more diligent about being focused while I work and when I work. Decisions will no longer be made in the best interest of my career. They will be made in the best interest of my life.
I’m sure to slip now and then. There will be times when I know I will place more emphasis on one thing over another. That’s okay. In the end, I hope it all balances out. There will now be more to life.
How about you? Have you been too focused on your career? Maybe you haven’t been focused enough on it. Focus is good. But don’t have tunnel vision. There is more to life.
Be intentional. Be happy. Enjoy success.