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In January, I was working at my home office when I received a phone call from an unrecognized number. I don’t typically answer numbers that I don’t know, but saw it was from my hometown and it was a business number. So, like any true elder millennial who doesn’t enjoy answering random phone calls, I googled the number without answering.

 

UPMC Hospital.

 

Shit. (Am I allowed to say that?)

 

I scrambled to answer and I missed it. So I texted my Dad, realizing I hadn’t heard from him that day. No response. I checked the voicemail. It was a doctor from the Emergency Department calmly asking me to call him back as soon as possible.

 

Oh God.

 

When I got a hold of the doctor, he calmly (and far-too-slowly) asked me if I had heard anything about my Dad’s medical status that day. “NO”, I said, silently begging him to GET ON WITH IT ALREADY!

 

He went on to tell me that my Dad had a “widowmaker’s heart attack”, underwent cardiac resuscitation twice, had surgery, and now has a stent in his heart. All this before I finished my first cup of coffee.

 

Holy. Crap.

 

When this type of heart attack happens at the hospital, only 9% of people survive. Thankfully for my Dad (and us), he was in that 9%. The doctor later informed me that only 4% of people who have this heart attack at home live to talk about it.

 

Holy. Crap. Again.

 

So what does this remind me of? Surprisingly, it reminded me of my work.

 

I coach executives who are striving to reach their professional and personal goals. A lot of times, these people are crushing their goals, striving to get better and better. It’s amazing the things my clients accomplish in life! However, there also seems to be a significant downside to this; in fact, there is often a pattern…

 

… Missed family dinners, soccer games, recitals, etc.

… Divided attention between responding to work emails and children

… Forgoing exercise for other priorities

… Years with no doctor or dentist appointments because there “isn’t enough time”

 

In the high performance life, we say there are three important pieces to your Life Pie:

Business, Relationships, and Health.

 

To truly be high performance, these three pieces of pie should be relatively equal.

 

 

This isn’t a blog about work-life balance. Reality check – it does not really exist.

IT IS about NOT staying stuck in any one area of Life’s pie so long that the other two areas suffer. While we strive for “balance”, what we need is awareness of the constant ebb and flow between Business, Relationships and Health over the long-term.

 

High Performance is NOT:

> Reaching all of your business goals at the sacrifice of your health and family.

 

High Performance is NOT:

> Extreme focus on health to a point you alienate your family and are unproductive at work.

 

High Performance is NOT:

> Hanging out with your family and friends to the point that you are not getting your work done.

 

High Performance IS:

Consistently succeeding beyond standard norms over the long-term in the areas of relationship, tasks, and health.

 

What’s the point of ensuring your business succeeds and retiring a millionaire if you have no one to share the fun and wealth with? Or if you’re not healthy enough to enjoy it yourself?

 

I’d say there’s no point. But that’s just one woman’s humble point of view (uhmm, mine).

 

Have you read Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom? I cannot, nor will I ever, teach a class about productivity without bringing up this book. (If you haven’t read this book yet, BUY IT NOW. Like, NOW.)

 

One of my most favorite passages from this book is as follows:

 

“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”

 

They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important.

 

As I sat in the ICU with my Dad, on the day of his heart attack, his phone rang 4 separate times—all being his assistant. I heard him direct her to drop keys off to one address, email this form, do that thing…

 

I said to him, “you do realize you had a heart attack today? Like, a big serious heart attack? And, you’re working? While lying in a hospital bed…in the ICU…really?”

 

He looked at me, smiled, and turned the phone to silent.

 

Put down the phone. Close the laptop. Turn off the TV.

 

There was a life, a world and countless thriving businesses long before the dawn of cell phones and email. We CAN unplug for a day. Some of the wildest and most fun memories come when we are unplugged.

 

So put it down. For the sake of your kids, your spouse…for you. PUT IT DOWN.

 

If you’re interested in learning how you can be high performance and get your pie pieces in check, sign up for a 20-minute chat. Let’s get your focus back in the right places.

 

Cheyenne Bennett profile picture
Cheyenne Bennett

Cheyenne is a Senior Family Business Advisor here at Compass Point with areas of expertise in Leadership & Talent Development. Her leadership training and research focuses on self-awareness, communication and healthy conflict to help cultivate high-performance teams for family business owners and their leaders.

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