I ask you: What are the things that you truly LOVE to do? You know, the things that fill your tank when you’re able to spend time doing them… What priority do you put on making time for these things? This R is all about REWARD. And I don’t know anyone more appropriate to share thoughts on the importance of taking time to focus on this than me…
Do I say that because I’m at a stage in life that I only spend my time on the things that excite me? Absolutely not. In fact, I believe I can share ideas on this topic effectively because I’ve put so LITTLE emphasis on fun over the last 15 years that it’s bordered on unhealthy; unhealthy as it relates to my personal well-being AND unhealthy at times for my personal relationships with the people that mean the most to me! (Have I mentioned how blessed I am to have Cindy in my life?)
In explaining REWARD in chapter 17 of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John says “life is too short not to do some things you love.” He goes on to say that these things will energize us and keep us passionate, “and passion provides the fuel in a person’s life to keep him going.”
So let’s go back to the story I started to share when I covered the first R, REQUIRED. When I was offered that position, leading a behavior based safety process for a global corporation, covering nearly 75 facilities around the world, this would have been the perfect criteria for me to use to make the right decision on whether or not I should have accepted it. And I would love to tell you that this was exactly what I had done… Not so much! This was initially packaged as a great advancement opportunity. I had worked for several years to become the best in the company at what I did, possibly one of the best in the world… At first, it was even portrayed as offering a significantly higher salary (and it should have considering it would require 80-100 hours each week and being away from home about 3 weeks each month). There would have been a ton of visibility at the corporate level as well. On top of all that, I had worked directly with the incumbent who was retiring for several years prior to this offer. It just made sense, I was the guy for the job. So let’s filter it through those three R‘s:
- Was it REQUIRED of me? Was I the only one that could do THAT job? No, even though I could have done it really well. Were there many other things in my life that were REQUIRED of me that this would pull me away from? ABSOLUTELY, but the title was inflating my ego to the point that I wasn’t paying close enough attention to those things. Had I taken that position, I am fairly confident that I would not have the family that I do today. And even if I did, I know our relationships wouldn’t be what they are.
- What was the RETURN on the investment I could expect to receive? In the first few conversations about the position, I was told that it had been approved for nearly double what I was making at that time. Quite frankly, that was still low for the level of responsibility and the work load, but I was open to it simply for the opportunities that could follow. I rarely get spiritual in these messages, but I don’t have any other way to explain this part: this is where God’s hand moved to push me when I was far too self-centered to make the right decision on my own. When I received the written offer letter, the salary was just over half the fair market value for the role, and around two-thirds of what I had been told it would be at the beginning of the process. While this was still more than I was being paid at the time, it would require a bit more than the 40 hours per week that I was working then AND it meant I wouldn’t be sleeping in my own bed every night like I was at the time… I’m not all that proud of this, but the pay was the real deal breaker…
- Was there a REWARD? Yes, for me personally. It would have been a role where I received a ton of praise. And it would have made something of a positive impact on the lives of the people in that company. But for my family, it would very likely have been a disaster! They wouldn’t have gotten anything good from this AT ALL. Today, the time I get to spend with my family is by far the biggest REWARD in my life!
In looking back at this now almost 7 years later, I’m almost embarrassed that I considered it for as long as I did (or at all). I’m extremely thankful that it turned out the way it did. I have no idea what direction my life would have taken had I accepted that position. My hope in sharing this story, and how filtering that decision through the three R‘s would have made it completely different, is that you can apply them somewhere in your life. I also hope my shallowness at the time serves as an example of how NOT to make a decision…
Have a great weekend,
*If you’re looking for the next opportunities for personal or organizational development, here are some things we have scheduled: Piecing Together Your People Puzzles, LIVE2LEAD:Harrisonburg, and LIVE2LEAD:Winchester.