I met a guy who was a busy executive at a startup in Silicon Valley. His family, a wife and three young kids, lived several states away. He lived in a hotel during the week, worked every evening, and flew home every weekend before returning to the office on Monday morning. Not a very dedicated family guy, right?
On the contrary. When I asked him about living in two cities, he admitted it was sometimes a challenge. But then he talked about what the weekends were like. “We do everything together,” he said. “We go camping. We bake and cook. We play hard the whole weekend long. I know I have to go back on Monday, so I’m constantly thinking about how to squeeze as much time and as many experiences in as we can.”
His family had discussed the arrangement of him being away mid-week, and they re-evaluated it twice a year. So far, at least, it was working.
I went away from the conversation impressed. It’s probably not easy, but it works. Who was I to judge? Just as he’d found a solution that worked well, there are probably plenty of unstable and unhappy families with people who spend all their time together.
Priorities are not just a question of time, in other words, they are also a question of focus and intention. I think it’s important for each of us to be able to say:
This is what I am living for.
This is what matters.
I will select these values and allow them to be my compass.
The way this is lived out may be different than how other people live, or it may even be totally unique.