In “How Will You Measure Your Life?” teacher and author, Clayton Christensen asks his Harvard MBA students to consider 3 big questions:
1. How can I be happy in my career?
2. How can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness?
3. How can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail?
That last question floored me, and then I read that 2 of Christensen’s 32 Rhode Scholar classmates had spent time behind bars. (I’m still not sure we’ll list: “Keep lads out of the ‘Big House’” in the print version of the strategic plan.)
On the career question, Christenson points out that the most powerful motivator isn’t money. It is the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute to others, and be recognized for achievements. (My own father-in-law once advised, “Never work just for money. Payday doesn’t come around often enough.”)
And as for important relationships, Christenson reminds us to keep the purpose of our lives front and center as we decide how we’ll spend our time, talents, and energy. “People who are driven to excel have this unconscious propensity to underinvest in their families and overinvest in their careers.”
A few years ago I attended a retirement dinner in honour of an extraordinarily hard-working colleague, and all I can remember from the evening was his daughter’s standing up and saying, “We are looking forward to getting to know you, Dad.”