It’s early March as I write this, and it’s an absolutely beautiful day here. It may not be where you are, at least not just yet, but that’s what Spring is—time for a break in the weather, for renewal. I may be pushing the season a little, but I don’t like to let grass grow under my feet.
I’ve found, over the years, that it’s important to strike a balance among family, profession, health, and recreation and hobbies. That seems like an impossible task at times, especially with young families. I’ll admit, it has been a while for me, but I do remember being in that situation. My wife, Terry, and I both worked full time while we were raising four daughters. It was tough at times, but we made it work. We played a lot of volleyball for men’s or women’s (as appropriate) and coed leagues—same for softball and then the same for tennis. In my spare time, I coached each of the girls through their softball seasons. I found ASPE back then, a discovery that helped advance my career in many ways. I eventually got involved as an officer with my Chapter. We found time to be with friends too. We went to parties and dinners and visited our families any chance we had. Looking back now, I wonder how we did it and where we found the energy.
Fast forward now…let’s just say a bunch of years. I am closer to the end of my career, but still plugging on. To keep pace with our ever-changing profession, I’ve gotten more active with ASPE—with committees first and then serving on Society Board positions. ASPE got me where I am, and the need to give back hit me so that’s been my response. Family is still a big focus for us; we’re at 10 grandchildren and holding for the moment. Maybe we overdid the sports a little in the early days, as between the two of us, Terry and I have survived a collective 19 orthopedic surgeries. (On the bright side, we’ve sent our surgeons on some great vacations.) We’ve had to tone it down. We are now doing online training, working out in our basement “Jim-nasium.” Surprisingly, we’re still keeping it all in balance. It is hard at times, but we’re making it work.
The training program I use really works for me. I’ve stayed with it for the last three years, which is some testimony in itself. The trainers have obviously been carefully selected; any program that can keep me motivated for that long is proof. Anytime I’m on the elliptical and I am thinking I can’t make it, I get a friendly reminder: “No quitting now, you need to finish this out.” “Why did you press start today?” “Honor the workout; honor your body.” They do the trick; they keep me going.
Right now you’re probably thinking, “Yeah, this is not really too career-related or ASPE-related at all.” However, there are some parallels between those training advisors and our own professional motivation. One tip I heard recently from a trainer that struck home with me was, “be the best version of you that you can be.”
That speaks directly to me. I realized it has been how I’ve tried to live each day. It is what has motivated me; it has helped me keep things in balance—family, career, health, hobbies. I can’t say the best version of me makes me the best in everything I do, but it has kept me going. I strive to be the best version of myself. Only when you are happy with yourself can you hope to make others around you happy or offer your help.
Find that Balance in Your Life
Find what’s important to you and then go out and do it all. Try to be the best version of you that you can be. You can make excuses as to why you can’t do what you know you should be doing, but in the long run, the only person you will let down is yourself. At home, honor your mind, honor the workout, honor the body. At work, honor your profession.
So, here’s the tie-in: ASPE will be your professional support team. If you need answers, jump on ASPE Connect. If you want to network with your peers, attend your local Chapter meeting. Need CEUs toward your CPD or PE? The Chapter meetings can help, or you can take some Read, Learn, Earn quizzes on ASPE Education. You can also plan on attending the Convention & Expo or this year our Tech Symposium. Think of ASPE as your teammate, your motivator, a true support team.
I mentioned the Tech Symposium. Keep that on your calendar and hopefully on your radar. Make plans to attend. It will be held September 27 – October 1 in Bellevue, Washington (outside of Seattle). That may be a long haul for some, but it’s definitely a sound investment for your career. A few months in advance of that, we’ll be conducting our first Chapter Leadership Summit in Rosemont, Illinois (outside of Chicago). That will take place June 23–25. Its intent is as it is titled: to provide leadership development for current or incoming Chapter officers. We invite the current President and incoming President or VPT from each Chapter and Satellite to this groundbreaking event. Unfortunately we won’t be able to accommodate more than two representatives per Chapter; the venue at the Westin O’Hare will not permit more, so make sure to pick the brains of those who attend if you are planning on taking on a Chapter leadership role in the future.
It is time for me to stow my keyboard for now. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to one and all. Be the best version of yourself and honor our profession. It was a long and winding road, but thanks for sticking with me this month.