Learn to Thrive at Work and in Life

I had a wake-up call this week. Not the worst kind, like a critical illness or death, but a shake-up wake-up nonetheless.


A sudden turn of events last week made me realize that for the last year I’ve been more focused on the herculean task of building a business rather than being truly present. Something I swore I’d never do (famous last words).


My friend and fellow author, Luke Lively, wrote a wonderful novel that has me thinking about our human tendency to get distracted by noise, and forget what matters most:  A Questionable Life. In it, a successful banker named Jack watches his life crumble, and then slowly pieces it back together with the help of a wise mentor, Benny. Here are some thoughts, with quotes from the book:

1) Are you taking, or giving?

“I had taken, not given, all my life. I was truly reaping what I had sowed.”

This past year, I took more emotional support from friends and family than I gave. I would do that differently today.

2) Is it time to stop “coping” and start living?

Jack’s mistress, Cassie, encourages him to stick it out for the money, when he contemplates quitting his lucrative bank job: “You’re tough – you can find a way to cope”.
His response: “Coping is what I’ve done all my life…I want more from life than money.”

Do you feel like you’re trying to get through your life, gathering every ounce of spare energy you have and kicking or forcing your body through, as you push through one more project or deadline? When you’re running a myopically focused race the rest of your life goes by in a blur – the worst is to find that your friends and family aren’t waiting for you at the finish line.

3) Are you focused on “more”, or quality?

Benny: “wanting more and getting more doesn’t satisfy…if your intention is to have more, you’re already aimed at the wrong target. You’ll never find balance in wanting more.”

Where in your life are you focusing on “more” to the exclusion of things that count? How might it be hurting you and those around you?

4) Are you awake?

Benny points out to Jack: “You have to be awake to notice the difference.”

How can you help yourself to wake up, before an unpleasant event in life forces you to? Could you get away and reflect for a few hours or days? Do you need to get away with your loved ones for a vacation together or even just a fun night out? How can you slow down the pace of your life, in order to ensure that you’re awake and making conscious choices. My Christian faith is something that normally really helps me in this area.  If I take (the essential) time to read the Bible and pray and be with the amazing mentors in my life, it helps me to stay focused, to remember what matters most in this life. It keeps me awake.


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