Be Good at Life

wpid-Photo-20140517082230.jpgYou can do it.

Much of what I write about is centered on being effective at work. After three decades in some of the most successful technology companies in the world I’ve learned more than a few things. And one of the fundamentals I’ve learned is that being good at work is not the same as being good at life.

Career is an essential element to a life well-lived and the beauty of “career” is that its highly personal. Your definition is up to you. Since you get to decide what that looks like you need never worry about matching anyone else’s path or plan, something Millennials figured out long before I did frankly.

Yet an essential element is just that: one element. The fact is being good at life includes a few basics beyond our efforts at labor. Some keys?


I write and think about health a lot: I want quality of life, not quantity. In decades past my concentration on career at the expense of my health showed through not just in being unfit, but in restless sleep, poor diet and lack of energy. More than once I used adrenaline to force myself through another 12-hour day at the office. But adrenaline lasts for moments, not hours.

You can extend your performance on the job and off by following the guidelines we all know: hydration, four smaller meals a day with no processed food and at least 30 minutes of exercise. That gets you sleeping well by the way. Can’t go to the gym? Get your headphones and take some calls walking around. Movement is movement.


No one is an island. Even though its tempting to make “friends” at the office few of them will be true friends – people who accept you for what you are. Get out of the house and meet people. Neighborhood groups, meet-ups, common interests and passions are all ways to interact with people you might not meet otherwise and the difference these folks bring to your life experiences will help you see your work in a different way as well. We’ve long known that successful execs have a broad range of personal experiences from which to draw on to make sense of the world: you deserve that too.


The fastest way to get is to give. When you are feeling run down, tired and empty go do something for someone else. Your rewards are immediate and incomparable. Whether church, civic, social or personal it doesn’t matter, your interest in helping others drives energy and renewal. You build yourself up every time you reach out to someone else. Building your community builds you.


Being good at life includes recognizing there is more to life than work, yet, ironically, being good at the other parts of life increase your career effectiveness too.

Get out there and be good.



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