Priorities: Family – Career Balance for a Happy Retirement

Have you ever been made aware that your priorities don’t match your actions?

I have and it hurts. I always felt that I was good at controlling my destiny and that my energy matched my motives and my objectives.

Where did I stumble?   And who let me know?

I was becoming focused on career to the detriment of family, and thankfully my wife let me know. More thankfully, I woke up and listened.

Too many friends didn’t heed this peril and paid for it in ways they could never have imagined.

For many, including me, career is important. It provides our economic lifeblood, future security and if well chosen, a deep level of satisfaction. It also tends to thrive when you are passionate and focused upon its demands.

So then why do we struggle with the tension between career and the other aspects of our life?

It goes back to the first question above – putting our actions where our priorities lie.

For many, if you were to ask – lose your family or lose your career, there would be no contest. Many would give their lives for their family and loved ones yet few would give it for their careers. (Military and emergency services personnel are arguably the exception.)   But even though we value our family and our relationships, we seldom invest the time and more importantly, the emotional energy that we give to our ‘career’.

It is only when we are reminded – do we step back and look at our actions and realize that alignment is required.

There are so many moral, emotional and altruistic reasons to be looking after all of the needs of family. The secret benefit that most of us fail to realize? – –  is that you will perform better, last longer and be more effective at work, if you have your family / loved ones fully satisfied by your attention. That way, they in turn can support you. They are your fuel, your backstop and your safety net. Get the career – family balance right and look forward to a wonderful retirement.

Retirement is not important when you’re working and establishing a career, but let me assure you that it is most important when the time approaches. Are you prepared? If not, I suggest you keep in mind; the career – family balance.

Exciting Radio Interview

Wow, the wonders of our internet age. I joined Twitter; gathered a following and followed others; made some connections and within no time, I have an interview invite from someone more than 3,000 miles away.

Domonick Domasky is an author and host of an Inspirational Talk show.  His friendly approachable character made the opportunity to share some stories a pleasure.  If you have time to sit with a cup of your favourite beverage, I invite you to listen in.

Just click on the Title below.

Taking Flight to Your Dreams.

Turning Adversity into Adventure

In the last post, we discussed the ‘Circle of Concern’, made smaller by the ‘Circle of Influence’1.  I will likely discuss this further in a later post, but for now I promised to reflect on what I coin ‘Turning Adversity into Adventure’.  This simple slogan helped my wife and me to change our paradigm and ease the stress of a pending layoff.  It worked so well, I have used it several times when faced with problems that seemed to be moving outside my circle of influence, but was clearly well planted in my growing circle of concerns.


Air Canada was going through a pilot downsizing and after 7 years of service, my seniority had withered so that I was no longer on the active pilot list.  Initially there was job sharing, but my days were numbered.  A layoff seemed imminent and we needed to make some plans.


I drew out a worst-case scenario. It foretold of a forced move to Toronto and then possibly losing the position anyway in further downsizing.   So, I proposed an alternative approach to my family.  I suggested that if furloughed, we sell the house, cars, toys, etc. – and home school our two boys – aged 10 and 7 – on a sailboat we would live aboard in the Caribbean.  Crazy?  Perhaps.  Doable?


We were going to find out.


We started to research and spoke with friends who had chosen this lifestyle and we made a startling discovery.


The ongoing dream building not only inspired us, but also relieved our stress about the lesser alternatives.  It was this dreaming and planning that made the situation no longer unbearable but truly exciting and wondrous.  Whether we went for it or not, didn’t matter.  (Spoiler alert!) In fact we never did go.    Aw!   It didn’t matter.  The exercise of daring to dream, to take control of our own destiny, to never allow the bad cards sent our way ruin our dreams, enabled us to find new paths of joy and fulfillment.  It was my Grandfather that instilled this fantasy-like imagination in my Mom, which I suppose was then passed on to me.  I firmly believe that fantasy should be taken very seriously and can often be translated into a reality beyond any normal expectation.


That adventure came close.  Others did materialize and these transformed our world in ways that could have only been possible by taking the courage to dream big.  In later stories, I will share some incredible adventures that occurred precisely as a result of this philosophy and practice.


What adversity have you experienced and how did you cope?


Note: I appreciate that some life events are so horrific and debilitating that the motivation required to turn them around is beyond most expectations. For those my heart goes out and perhaps this is not the strategy we would choose.  But when you can find an alternative to external circumstances that seem to oppress or direct your life in the wrong path, then perhaps the thought – and practice – of taking the helm and steering for adventure is just what you need.


I welcome your comments below.


1.   Stephen Covey – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People