John Townsend, a business consultant, leadership coach and psychologist, was in the Bay Area yesterday to keynote the San Francisco Prayer Breakfast as well as speak at the San Francisco Bay Barnabas Group at Round Hill Country Club.
Townsend is one of the two principals in the Cloud-Townsend Group that works with business and other leaders in society. He offered four takeaways that seemed particularly apt on Valentine’s Day to keep balance in your life. His view—if you’re out of balance, you will not perform well in any area of your life.
1. Simply keep Number 1 (priority), No. 1 and the Number 2, No. 2. No. 1 is our personal life and the relationships with family, friends and God. No. 2 is profession or career. Speaking to a group of Christians, many of whom are successful business people, he emphasized that pursuing work with excellence is honors God as long as he and family remain No. 1.
2. Calendarize your priorities. When working with business executives, he uses a two-year planning window. The first layer of the calendar is vacation time with the family or spouse. John’s advice is to put in all of the personal stuff first and then build the professional life around it. He also knows that calendars will have to be adjusted—if that change costs time with your kids—it must be made up, not missed and forgotten.
3. Relationship input must match relationship output. Leaders often are isolated because they pour out—as they need to—in meetings and other encounters with people, but rarely get to vent and then be filled up. He recommends finding three other people, aside from your spouse, that you can vent to and be honest about life.
4. Ongoing accountability is critical. John admits he hates this, but that it is very necessary. He told the Barnabas members and guests that he was so out-of-balance that he was stricken with Bells Palsy that paralyzed half of his face. For a guy routinely appearing on television, that’s not good. To deal with it, he formed an advisory board to hold him accountable to what his commitments and to say No. For instance, he shared that he would book a training session Tuesday in Seattle and then Wednesday in Washington D.C., planning to sleep on the red-eye flight. The advisory folks put a stop to that as well as providing the accountability across the areas of his life as noted above.
There was plenty of wisdom packed into John’s 30-minute talk. For more information, please see www.cloudtownsend.com or the Barnabas Group web site at: www.barnabasgroup.org