While I was a student at Harvard Business School I was lucky enough to get into a class called “Management in Perspective.” Surprisingly, that class had tremendous impact on my life, and my desire to become a career coach in San Diego. It was a really simple class: the professor would bring in some of the most successful alumni the school has, and we as students could ask them anything at all.
They would speak about leadership, about wealth, about life, about their careers, whatever… These were guys who had made fortunes, who had huge political influence, people who had their names on walls with donations to Harvard in the tens of millions of dollars.
I learned a lot from these individuals, but the biggest thing that resonated with me was a cautionary tale, and this tale shaped my work as an executive and as a career coach. This was a tale that was repeated by many, but not all, of these individuals. Here it is, a sort of compilation of many of their stories:
I was very ambitious.
My work was the most important thing to me and I poured all my energy into it and I was very successful.
As my career advanced I missed important family events like Christmas, kids’ birthdays, and anniversaries because I had critical deals I needed to be away from home for. I was tremendously successful and made a lot of money.
My wife and I divorced [nearly all of these guests were male] and I don’t really have much of a relationship with my kids these days. I’m retired now.
I’ve cut back on my hours and work 60 hours a week or so, angel investing and sitting on boards. As I look back on it, I always told myself that I was working so hard for my family, so that they could have nice things.
But the truth is that my wife never asked me for a bigger house or a jet. It was all about me. Right now I’m trying to get more involved in my kids’ lives and am trying to be there for my grandchildren, but it is hard.
What could a career coach do for this individual?
Well, perhaps nothing from the perspective of helping them be successful in their careers. However, if they were open to it, it would have been interesting to have a discussion about what was really important in their lives. I wonder if a career coach could have helped them see the incongruence of saying they prioritize their family, but giving them so little time and energy would have sparked a change.
I suppose we will never know.
However, if you are wondering if you are putting your energy in the places that matter most to you, and are eager to make a change, let me know.
I have a great worksheet that helps bring these issues to light in all aspects of life.
If you say you value your health but aren’t putting any effort towards it, this worksheet will call out the changes you need to make. Consider it a place to get started before you hire a career coach.
Shoot me an email at [email protected] and ask me for the values vs. time spend worksheet.
If you are on the wrong path, it just might be the wakeup call you need.
Alternatively, if you are thinking that now is the right time for you to begin working with a career coach to get your career (and life) headed in the right direction, check out my free webinar on how to choose a career coach here or schedule a complimentary career coaching session by clicking here.