Creating an Ideal Life

In November, I delivered a talk at a conference in Florida.  In it, I share how to create an ideal life using three approaches.


Life and Work Balance Is Doable (Post 3 of 3)

drawing-out-lifeIn this final post in the series, I share thoughts on innovation and preparing for growth through education.

Professor Stewart Friedman in Work+Home+Community+Self from the September issue of Harvard Business Review states the third leadership principle is being innovative.

Friedman shares six strategies for being innovative to support the earlier described “four way win” concept.  They are:

  1. Being results focused
  2. Resolving conflicts
  3. Challenging the established way of doing things
  4. Envisioning new ways to do things
  5. Embracing change with a creative spin
  6. Creating an innovation culture

At Intertech, innovation is woven into the fabric of who we operate.   For example, once a year, through our FedEx Day employees have 24 hours to work on anything they choose.  Also, once a year, we hold a town hall–where the leadership team is absent–and the employees have an open discussion on what we should start doing, stop doing, and continuing doing as well as identify strengths and weaknesses in the firm.

Personally, I spend a month away somewhere warm every January with my family.  Most mornings start with a pot of coffee and reflection, envisioning the future, and brainstorming goals and plans to make those goals a reality.

To help prepare for leading a larger organization and think in new ways, I read a variety of magazines, blogs, and books, attend executive education–I’ll be headed to the London School of Business in March–and participate in Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO).

Friedman states “leading the life you want is a craft. As with music, writing, dance or any athletic endeavor, you can always get better at it by practicing.”

I agree!

Life and Work Balance Is Doable (Post 2 of 3)

Tug-of-WarIn the first post in this series, I outlined thoughts on the HBS article from Paul Friedman of Wharton.

At the core, his article is about an approach to work, life balance.

He shares the first step is being real.  The next step is being whole.  Ways to be whole include:

  • Being clear on expectations
  • Helping others
  • Creating supportive networks
  • Using all of your resources
  • Artfully managing boundaries

Here are a few of my own notes on the above:

  • On being clear on expectations, I’ve found Dale Carnegie’s Key Result Areas are a solid tool for setting and managing expectations.
  • On helping others and or creating supportive networks, check out the book Give and Take.
  • For artfully managing boundaries, keep in mind that people treat us the way we allow them to treat us.

The final post on Friedman’s thoughts will include ideas around being innovative

Team SuperManners – An Illustrated Book for Preschoolers


This year, I had a goal to write an illustrated kid’s book (while my kids were young enough to enjoy seeing themselves as characters in a book).

I’m happy to say that Team SuperManners, The Well-Behaved Adventures of Zander the Dog, Sweet Cheeks, and Baby Girl is finished and on Amazon in print and Kindle.

Jakob Bartels was the illustrator.  Jakob is a phenom.  At only 17 years-old, he was the designer of the crest for the USS Minnesota submarine.  My huge thanks to his father, Chris, who’s been our marketing consultant for over a decade.  Chris graciously volunteered his time to make this book a reality and once again made a project a ton better because of his involvement.

If you’re seeing this post/message and would like a free copy, just fire me an email or send a message with your address.

Life and Work Balance Is Doable (Post 1 of 3)

Balance-is-BunkThe September issue of Harvard Business Review had an article titled “Work+Home+Community+Self”.  Sort of clumsy title… but a good article.

It was written by Stewart D. Friedman, a Wharton professor.  He’s the author of Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life.

His take on life balance is based on a concept he calls “four way wins.” The four ways are work, home, community, and self.  Instead of trade-offs between these four different parts of a life, his approach is to look for a way to have a “win” that improves all four dimensions.

Interesting approach!

In leadership, he proposes following three guidelines.  Be:

  • Real
  • Whole
  • Innovative

In being real, he states leaders need to know what matters, embody values, line up actions with values, use stories to share values, picture your legacy, and hold yourself accountable.  “Getting real” took me some time.

For example, on my first wedding anniversary, I told my wife to celebrate on her own… not a good call!

Luckily, since then, I’ve righted the ship and identified personal values that drive my life:  caring, commitment, humor, and honesty.

On my next post, I’ll share additional thoughts on Friedman’s on balance.