Changing the World

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”

-Mother Teresa

We talk a lot about making an impact, leading missions, driving innovation, accomplishing business goals, and building teams. We all wear a lot of hats – business development, project management, technical delivery, financial controls, client management, volunteering with sports, church, community and…the list goes on and on.

But the most important roles are the ones right in front of us – our families. If we wear ourselves out running through walls to “change the world” and miss out on the opportunity to impact our own families, we have failed. 

So, this week, I have three challenges for us (you and me). Send me a note on LinkedIn if you accomplish any of them.

1. If you are married or dating, book your date night for Valentine’s Day. I don’t care if it’s the Thursday before or the Tuesday after. Pro tip: going out on the 14th is chaos. It’s more thoughtful if you prepare the meal yourself at home. We aren’t viewing Valentine’s Day as an event; we are viewing it as the first step in developing a habit. Book your date night and then block that night on your calendar every week from now on. You have recurring project meetings for key priorities, right? Let’s get our personal key priorities booked in the same way. 

2. If you have kids, do the same  – calendar a reoccurring event with them. If you don’t have kids, do you have parents around? Grandkids? What is a ritual that you can do with them weekly, bi-weekly, or at the very least, monthly? Game night? Donuts on Sunday morning?  Chocolate chip pancakes for dinner and a movie? This is a separate date. Avoid trying to merge family time and spouse/partner time. They are different relationships and require different attention.

3. Sharpening the Saw. You’ve probably heard the parable about sharpening the saw. I first heard it told by Stephen Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Two people set out to see who could cut down the most trees in a forest. We will call them Project Manager A and Project Manager B. They both set out into the forest, cutting down trees. PM A is chopping away and keeps looking over, and PM B is sitting on a stump. This motivates PM A to chop harder, saying to themselves, “watch me get ahead.” This goes on for an entire day, and eventually, they count the results. PM A cut down fewer trees than PM B cut down. PM A exclaims, “How could you have cut down more trees? You’ve been sitting around taking breaks all day!” PM B exclaims, “I wasn’t taking breaks. I was sharpening my saw.” The moral of the story is to take the time to sharpen the saw – maybe it’s in the form of exercise or nutrition, maybe it’s faith and spirituality, maybe it’s academic advancement, or maybe it’s just better sleep. 

As January comes to an end, where are you on those resolutions? What habit are you taking on next or what habit do you need to revisit? How can you sharpen the saw?  

This email is a Nike nudge to”Just do it.”We are all doing our best to juggle the balls, wear the hats and do all the little things. COVID interrupted our lives, and we’ve been fighting to re-establish a battle rhythm (to steal an Army term). Use this as an opportunity to assess your calendar, your week, your month and your year. Plan your priorities, and then work on your plan. It’s not worth winning at work if we aren’t winning at home.  

Snow is coming here in the Philly area, so I am heading home to make memories with the kids. 

BJ Kraemer, President