February 15, 2020
Dave WrightI wrote this month’s message while sitting in a hotel room in Chicago, Ill., where I spent four days with my kids for their first major martial arts tournament of the year. We take them to seven or eight tournaments across North America each year, and friends often ask how we are able to fit them into our schedule. The answer is, I don’t believe in work/life balance. Yeah, you read that right.

I read quite a bit and a concept from a very good book, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, by Gary Keller and Jay Pappason, really stuck with me. Life is not a balancing act between work, life, association, sports, and the other million things we have going on. Balance is basically being at rest. Newton’s first law of motion states that an object at rest will remain at rest, unless a force acts upon it. So here’s my point: nothing happens in a state of balance! If we find balance in life, it will be very dull and nothing will happen. We will go to work, then go home, only to repeat it again the next day.

Life is more like a pendulum. Exceptional stuff really happens at the extremes. For example, my kids both spend a lot of time at the kung fu club, training for their sport. They push hard, and when they do, they don’t get to see their friends. They may miss a bit of school and they may fall a little behind. But when they go to a tournament and win top awards, the pendulum shifts because an extreme event has happened. Come Monday morning, the pendulum swings once again, as they return to the grind at school to get caught-up. To do that, they may miss a couple of training nights, so they can go on to ace the test. The pendulum has now hit the other extreme. It’s hard work, but the best things only happen at the extremes.

In my world, I miss quite a few days of work attending the tournaments and doing association work, but come Monday, I have to push the pendulum in the opposite direction. I work longer hours to get caught up. I might work very late a few nights to get a bunch of designs done, or a few tenders filled out, and in doing so, I miss dinner and evenings with my family. Sometimes, I may only see them for 15 minutes before school in the morning. But if we are successful in securing those tenders, and I sell the projects to build those designs, then ultimately, we win. Come Friday night, we can all go out to a restaurant for dinner as a family to celebrate the wins of that week. And the pattern of the swinging pendulum goes on, never stopping. I don’t believe in balance, and I strive to get out to the extremes, so that I can have something to show for all my hard work or hard play.

So with that, I challenge you to live in the extremes of both life and work, to make something really exceptional happen as landscape professionals.
Dave Wright
LO President