Work – Life Balance

Work life balance.

You hear about it a lot. Everybody wants to not only have a successful career, but also wants to have children, and live life a little bit.  I can see age 35 on the horizon, and I guess I’m starting to worry about time running out.  Although I know that I’m still young, – especially in the architect/real estate world – sometimes I start to worry.  They tell you your twenties go flying by – they aren’t lying.

 

I start this blog post in an attempt to put off some work I have to do – its Sunday, a day when many of my peers are spending time with their families, while I, on the other hand, and struggling with a high work load.  Everyone has it – and really, we all have limited time, high stress jobs, and all of that jazz.  I am not complaining, as my life really isn’t that different from anyone else’s.  People have just made different decisions, and I have ended up being unmarried with no kids in my mid-thirties – which, honestly, is how I saw myself when I was relatively young.  So, I’m OK there, in my mind.  Everyone has their own goals.

But as I sit here, struggling to start work, I can’t help but think about  how much time I have left and what I’m going to do with it. “Time I have left” sounds so morbid, especially at my age, but our lives are finite – and I’m not at the point of panic, but there is so much I want to do, and where am I?  Have I don’t what I want to?  Will I do what I want I want to do?  Will I contribute to this world what I would have liked to?

In September  2011 I went to a seminar with a lot of different speakers in Mexico City.  I might have mentioned him before in this blog – I’m not certain.  But even though his message was unpopular with those listening to it, and the Spanish to English translation made the speech horribly boring.  In fact, I just went through my notes from the event and I took down nothing from his speech, and I had to look up his name on the Internet.  However, two years later, I’m haunted by his words as I sit here on a Sunday getting myself in the mood to focus and do some “Good Work.”

His name is Francisco Gil Diaz, President for Mexico and Central America of Telefonia SA.   He said this over and over again: “You have to quit to pick.”

Francisco Gil Diz, via an article on Bloomberg

Francisco Gil Diaz, via an article on Bloomberg

It probably sounded better en Español, but the catch phrase was repeated over and over.  He also was brutally honest: “I am not the best father in the world…” he said a few times.  But his point was that each one of us has a finite amount of resource: at the true end of it, that resource is time: and we have to choose how we spend that resource.  He feels like he has spent it the right way, and that is his decision.

Really, he’s right and in his world his comfortable with that.  Have I made the right choices?  On the average, I think so.  I can honestly say that I am happy.  Am I totally happy with where I am financially?  Maybe I picked a bad industry as far as ROI on that one.  But people tell me I’m pretty good at it, and I get paid more than people my age in this biz, so OK, fine.  BY any regular old standard, I think I’ve passed some test or another.

But I’m running up on 35 – and how will I make my mark on the world?  What will my legacy be?  What will my family life turn out to be?  Have I figured out what’s really important?

I sure as hope I’m quitting the right things and picking the right things.

I read a book recently my Ann Lamott, called Bird By Bird.  Its about writing, but writing is her life – so it is also about life.  She referenced another writer who said this, but it rings true – all of this stuff around us – our bodies, our money, this planet – they’re all props.  And the end of our lives, we have to give them all back.  When you give them back, what’s left?

Should I publish such a self-serving monologue that is dripping with morbidity?

You bet!

 

 

Mexico City Trip – Part 1

Back in September I took a trip to Mexico City for Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO)’s “world summit.”  I was not a member at the time but a friend was an invited me to go.  Below are my initial remarks I made while I was there.  At a time where I’m feeling a little “lost”  its nice to go back over some of these notes.  I’m starting the process to become a member under their “accelerator program,” which is designed for people with new businesses.

These notes were taken in a hotel lobby.  I’ve fixed some of the major errors but bear in mind that I was tapping away on an iPad when I wrote this.  It almost seems that I was on some sort of emotional high when I wrote it:

So I am here in Mexico City…  All of the speakers have had their time and we have done a few offsite activities to see a little bit of the city.  A hot air balloon ride over the ancient ruins of a lost civilization was the highlight of those.  It was interesting to see how most of the “history” was more or less simply theories and projections from the Aztec culture.  However, some of those are most likely sound due to the fact that most religions share lore, sports, culture, and more.

The week as a whole was…  I would go as far as saying it might be life changing.  This is the first time I have been exposed to any level of Latin American commerce, and I have decided to make a small effort to investigate growing my own business into the area.  I already have a trip planned to Chile soon and the is another EO conference in Columbia soon.  This one is a Latin American round up, and I will be interested to see business owners from all over that part of the world.  I will try to attend that as well.  There are some other hurdles to jump, though, including gaining admittance into EO.  I am not entirely certain how I would get my revenue to where it needs to be to join…  There are some different ways,  one of which might be an acceleration program at I have been told is headed to Dallas.  I may get in that way.

Overall, the experience has been beneficial because I am around like minded people from all over the world.  I have felt, for a long time, that I am in an island.  Even though I am around two entrepreneurial spirits on a regular basis, there is a certain energy associated in being with an entire group of them… Diverse in every way, from industry to religion to race… You name it.  The coincidence between the Chile trip and the Columbia trip are uncanny… And, if I can get in quickly enough, I can use the EO leverage while I am in Chile and make a handful of connections there – connections that I would most certainly regroup with on other international trips.

Another desire of mine, as a person, is to grow a family who understands the international scene.  One of the speakers, I beleive it was Steve Forbes, made the comment that your kids should know what you do and how you make things work.  There is no other future for our economy other than to become a truly integrated global player.  The value associated with knowing other languages when you are small and growing up visiting other countries – not just as a tourist, I believe can make a strong position for my kids in their quest to build their life.

All of this comes at a time when I am considering law school in a local arena.  SMU is currently the only law school in my market, and is actually a good one.  I will investigate how their curriculum can support international law as a focus of my study.  It might even benefit me further by doing business abroad as it is.  Boundaries are not the same as it once was – just because I am doing work in other countries does not mean that I would have to be there all of the time.  My goal would be to work abroad each quarter and maintain most of my lifestyle.  The more I think about it, the more I think that it would work and how EO can be beneficial to these goals and more.. Which brings me to another thought….

Rosario Marin was one of the best speakers there was.  She had profound thoughts that will affect my life as a father.. Whenever that happens.  But, I think it will help with my current situations as well… Making my family and the people I love come first.  It doesn’t take a ton of effort, but I have been ignoring the people I love.  In the name of what?  I’m not even satisfied with what I’m doing….  So, great.  However, she inadvertently made a comment that really got my attention.  She said that she always does her best.  Recently I have not been doing my best.  I have been getting along and, mostly, struggling.  It made me think about this: what is getting in my way?  Why am I not doing my best?  I have barriers, and they still need to be mostly identified.

I know there are more quotes and concepts that I have written down that are not discussed here.  But this morning, on a bus to the hot air balloon ride, all of this came rushing at me while I was dead tired.  And I wanted to get it down while I still feel a strong energy about it.  The future is down here and I know it.  And I will be a part of it, while at the same time helping my city grow and prosper.  For the first time in a long time, I feel like the sky is the limit.  I am happy.