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A Personal Code

I have long used a Venn Diagram of three circles to explore my purpose in life. You see it in the image above.

I recall being told by a therapist once that people primarily focus on just one of these: taking care of themselves, being engaged with their families or their work. And that they generally let the other two go by the wayside, sometimes to the point of ignoring them altogether. She said that this was normal and an acceptable way to live life. Then she asked me, which was most important to me? At that moment I resolved to make them all equally important and to do well in all three. I accepted that I may never truly stand out from the crowd in anyone, but to have all three together was well worth that possibility.

Ever since then my personal vision and my goals have pretty much stayed in this framework. I look for ways to excel in each as long as I do not have to pay a steep price in the other two. This has guided many a life decision. I am not always in balance. I don’t expect to be. There are times when one of these three necessarily moves to the driver’s seat in my life and the other two take the back seat. But, not for long. And I am grateful to have a compass that works well for me when I am out of balance.

Self-care is truly foundational. It does not mean that I am always in perfect health – that, I think, is impossible. But I recognize that my ability to be compassionate and forgiving towards myself is what allows me to be compassionate and forgiving to others, and so, therefore, this extends out from me through all my relationships.

My family and close friends are extremely important to me, and I make time for them even when it is uncomfortable for me. Every time I engage fully I am rewarded immediately, in my heart and my personal sense of joy in life. In addition, I count myself so fortunate to truly experience camaraderie and an abiding friendship with my clients and their colleagues. I genuinely enjoy the people I work with, both in the moment of interaction and when apart from them. In this sense, my work brings me deep, personal sustenance.

I am so fortunate to have work that I love, and I truly love all aspects of it: helping executives succeed, working inside their organizations with their staff and volunteers, writing and producing valuable content to improve their situations, and having an office in my home along with administrators who look out for me and are proactive in their support of my mission, which is to helping visionary leaders succeed on a grand scale.

Do you have a personal code? If you do, how can you bring it to life in the days ahead? If not, would you consider exploring one that is a fit for you?


“Our heritage and ideals, our code and standards – the things we live by and teach our children – are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings.”
Walt Disney