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What is Your Legacy? The Importance of Finding a Work/Life Blend

by John Zettler

June 23, 2015

A few months ago I was to meet with a new colleague. It was odd that he didn’t show up as it was booked only hours earlier. It was only later I found out that this colleague passed away unexpectedly while rowing with his friends. Days before that, while traveling with a client, I learned of his relative who woke up a couple of weeks before, paralyzed from the waist down. Diagnosis is cancer on the spine, inoperable. And only a year or so ago, I lost one of my mentors. By all account he was in great health for his age, eating well, exercising and living life. He passed from a sudden brain aneurism.

We all have examples like this of people we know who were taken from us all too early.

Don’t waste one more day doing something you’re not absolutely in love with! How many of you are living someone else’s life right now, working at a job you’re not passionate about, working too many hours with no flexibility, missing out on the important events happening with your loved ones, and generally just watching life go by from a distance? When I made the choice to join Dale Carnegie Business Group, it was predicated on the need to have a blend in my life that allowed my work and personal lives to be in harmony. I, too, have a story. Five years ago my wife and I were blessed with the birth of our first daughter. That experience wasn’t anything like we expected. She was born three months early at 1 lb. 12 oz. She spent the first five months of her life in the hospital, and had surgery on the third day of her life. Doctors told us before she was born to be prepared for the worst. Today, she is just like any other five year old, in near perfect health. This forever changed my life and my perspective on what’s important.

Strive for a Blend, not BalanceTeamwork and corporate profit

I’ve long believed that work/life balance is a fallacy for most people in today’s day and age. Let’s consider this example. It takes many of us who work in a major city centre, but can’t afford to live there, over two hours a day to commute to and from work. We’re then at the office for a minimum of eight hours, we often take an hour of work home with us and there is likely an hour a day where we think or talk about work. Add those numbers up and you’ve just spent half your day with work, not a balance I would suggest.

I want to introduce to you a new perspective. One that is both achievable and will change your life – Work/Life Blending. So what is a blend? A blend for me isn’t a job that I only have to work eight hours at or a job that you don’t have to work hard at to be successful. As I stated above, I’m not convinced that exists anymore. What a blend is though, is having the true flexibility to work on my terms to get the work done while enjoying the things in life that are also important to me – my family, my friends, and me. A blend is working hard at something that I’m passionate about so it doesn’t seem like work. A blend is taking control of my life in a way that has a positive impact on me, my family and my friends. So why does this matter? I recently read an article on LinkedIn about a businessman who had a chance encounter on a flight. The person he met turned out to be a US Senator and the long-time CEO of a payroll company you may have heard of, ADP. The following is an excerpt from that piece about what this article is all about:

“One more thing, Dave,” Senator Lautenberg said, as the flight attendant welcomed us to Boston. “I want to show you a picture of my greatest legacy.”

As he reached into his pocket, I wondered what he’d show me -a leader so accomplished in two totally different careers. A piece of paper with the idea for ADP? A section of a law he’d written? A picture of him with a President?

Senator Lautenberg pulled his phone out of his pocket, and proceeded to show me a picture with a whole bunch of people.

“These are my four kids, and seven grandchildren, Dave. This is my greatest legacy.”

At the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, what will you be remembered for? Will it be for that job you always wanted, will it be for reaching that salary threshold you always strived for? I can tell you, that used to be me but I’ll never let those things dictate my life again.

Today, I work as much or more than I used to. But I’m working on the things I’m passionate about, working hours that make sense for me and my family and taking care of me. I’m finding time to manage all the things that are important to me, including my work, and I’ve never felt better.

You never know how much time is left or when things will change. Take advantage of every day and live life large!

Best Success!

John Zettler, Director, Talent Strategy & Development, Dale Carnegie Training®
Contact me at 905-826-7300 x 235 or jzettler@dalecarnegie.ca


John ZettlerWe are pleased to welcome John Zettler to the Dale Carnegie team as Director, Talent Strategy & Development.“John’s commitment and passion to the growth and development of individuals, teams and organizations is evident,” says Kevin Crone, President and Managing Partner, Dale Carnegie Business Group. “His engaging and collaborative approach along with his strong business acumen and focus on results make him a great fit for our team. We are thrilled he has decided to join us.”Read more.John Zettler brings almost 20 years of human resource experience to the challenge of better leadership we all share. He has invested his skills and energies and debated leadership with some of our country’s best leaders. Through this, he has refined a style of management that focuses on leadership conviction, authenticity and caring as the cornerstones of a more nuanced set of management skills we can all benefit from.

Instead of balance in our life, he challenges us to a new style of work life blending that both gives us:

  1. The rush of seeing our people grow and prosper in a company that truly cares about them and their dreams.
  2. The time and focus to also contribute the same level of passion to the needs of our families.

To hear the insights we captured in three minutes of his own words, click here.


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Dale Carnegie Resources

Everyday people make decisions based off of their emotions. Their levels of engagement in the workplace will be related to the emotions felt about their organization, the immediate manager, and senior management. Dale Carnegie Training has identified the specific emotional drivers of employee engagement.

Dale Carnegie Training’s White Paper ” Emotional Drivers of Employee Engagement” will help you better understand the emotions needed to drive your employees to engagement.

Employee Engagement White Paper - Dale Carnegie




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