My first job when I left university was with IBM in New York. We worked pretty long hours. A friend of mine who had a graduate job for Arthur Anderson consulting in Australia was coming to the US for his ‘induction’. He was passing through New York for the weekend, alas IBM wanted me to work, there was a big meeting that I was supporting.
At the time I didn’t know what to do…I eventually shared my dilemma with my boss. He said they needed me for the whole weekend, or not at all. I had to choose, there was no trying to do both.
Twenty-five years later and the friend who visited that weekend, Dwin is the godfather to my daughter and has been a long time great friend and mentor. IBM does not remember whether I worked that weekend or not, but Dwin would have remembered coming to New York and his friend being too busy to see him.
As I work countless hours in running this business, (whilst now I have a wonderful general management team), I still must remind myself daily the choices I make about where I spend my time. Who will remember in twenty-five years what I did or did not do? Which choice will have the biggest impact on my sense of self and value and ultimately long-term happiness? After all ‘good relationships are strongly associated with happiness.’ Our lives are really just the sum of all the moments we share with people, the experiences we have and the choices we make.
So when I choose where I spend my time, I choose powerfully, without regret but I coach myself regularly on what (and who) is really important.