This morning I read a post by Carey Nieuwhof on Twenty Five Random Pieces of Advice to Leaders in their 20-30-40’s. That got me thinking about what advice I might share to that same crowd.
I had recently shared my own advice with my 30 something staff members and was curious if my thought was on his list. It wasn’t. So here it is:
Pay attention to building your marriage and not just your career and lifestyle.
What I’ve observed is that when you are in your thirty’s you tend to feel like “NOW IS MY TIME.” It’s make or break. You are full of energy and ideas. You’ve conquered some of the big goals of life (spouse, job, house) and you still have some energy, so you push for the promotion, get your masters degree, get a second job to pay for the house you overbought, etc.
Be careful with that.
What often happens is your marriage drifts. Or you might be busy chasing your kids and driving them around but you never get to know them. Just because you are with your family doesn’t mean you know them.
If you follow your dreams and fail to develop your relationships, you’ll end up a lonely person in your 50’s and beyond.
You assume that all is good and whatever goal you have in mind will “just be a year” of your life. No big deal. Your family will be so much better off when you accomplish your goal. But when that wraps up you still have some energy. You still want to improve your life and you think the marriage, or time with your kids, can wait.
That’s an illusion. If you follow your dreams and fail to develop your relationships, you’ll end up a lonely person in your 50’s and beyond.
I know what I’m talking about. Not the lonely part in my 50’s (I’m 59). The busy part in my 30’s. I’m thankful that at age 39 my wife confronted me about my workaholism. I thought our marriage was fine. I was working hard to accomplish a number of goals that I thought would “set us up” to live a happy life in the future. But my wife was miserable in the present. In my quest for success, I had emotionally abandoned her.
Thankfully she told me. And thankfully I heard her. (It took a number of attempts before she found the words that helped me understand). That saved me from being lonely today. We made some drastic changes to put our family relationships first. I shudder to think of where I’d be today had we not done that.
So…watch yourself. Don’t think your relationships will still be there when you have accomplished all your goals in life. Your accomplishments won’t mean anything if you are all alone. Make this #26 on Carey’s list of ideas (or maybe #1).
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