by John Ingrisano
“In accomplishing anything definite,
a man renounces everything else.” — George Santayana
Back in my lean, mean, meat-eating younger days, I would have agreed with the above quote from Harvard Philosopher (no, not the musician) George Santayana. I was maniacally dedicated. Business was my king … almost my god.
No, I was not ruthless; I never cheated anyone. But I was relentless, and I always drove a hard bargain. I worked myself hardest of all; I routinely worked 80 to 100 hours a week, doing the work of three or four people. I started out wanting to provide for my young family. Gradually, however, with every success, the quest became more important for its own sake.
I made money, did well. I headed a small, profitable newsletter business and became known as one of the top three people in my industry (life insurance training and marketing). I had no need to market because clients came to me.
Somewhere along the way, however, I got hard, indifferent, intolerant. I began to think I was as good as people said I was. Eventually, the family failed and, with that, the business failed. The thing I noticed most as I stirred through the ashes of my life was that I was alone. I had neglected my relationships. In the years that followed, I floundered through a handful of half-hearted ventures, trying to reclaim my success.
Gradually, eventually, I figured it out: I rebuilt relationships with people who I admired and loved (and learned to avoid those I didn’t). Today, I continue to work hard (but now I do the work of just two people). Though I always meet deadlines, I also always take time for a phone call from one of my granddaughters and willingly put aside my schedule to spend time with Susan, my “Favorite Interruption.”
Riches? Today, I have enough. In terms of material goods, I do not have too much, but certainly enough. I measure my wealth in terms of time for loved ones, dirty hands from digging in the garden, a well-written business article or faith blog, a few miles walking on the trail with Rocky the Boxer, and a long, lingering dinner with friends. In these I am wealthy beyond belief.
Success? I now know it as balance. I am a capitalist, and I love to work. But these days my work has a purpose, a reason, and it is not an end unto itself. I may not die the richest man in the cemetery, but I suspect I will die (many years from now, I pray) a man of peace … a very successful man.
P.S. These days, I’m happy as a pig in mud. Balance works.
What are your thoughts? What is success to you? Please share them with me. Or go ahead and post them at The Freestyle Entrepreneur blog site.
Thanks, and have a joyful day. As always, work hard, make money, have fun … and keep your life in balance.
John R. Ingrisano
The Freestyle Entrepreneur