When was the last time someone told you that they had time to accomplish everything they wanted to: fulfill their career ambitions, achieve work-life balance, be involved in the community, and keep physical and mental fitness?
Other than liars or people who exaggerate, who can say such things? Now let’s ask a somewhat different question: is it possible to feel successful in your career without sacrificing your love and family life?
In my opinion, there is a method to be able to answer this question positively and it is to write down as precisely as possible what you want to accomplish in each of the four aspects of your life, namely the professional aspects, community, family and personal. To cut to the chase, everything must be contained on one page, and this page becomes your North Star in a way.
Thirty years ago, Charles Taylor wrote that people have always sacrificed their personal lives for their careers, but what’s new is that it’s become a societal expectation: you’re wasting your life if you’re messing up. your career. Hence the importance of thinking carefully about our life apart from the career and having the courage to make choices by freeing ourselves from social conformity.
In my case, the trigger came to me when I read the book To each his own mission, by Jean Monbourquette, which was published when I became CEO of my company. My community mission has thus become: to use my position to support causes, popular or not, that seem important to me and to train as many business leaders as possible to be active in philanthropy through personal and corporate donations.
My mission was accompanied by an inspiring person, in this case Lucien Paquet, a religious of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, and topped with a categorical affirmation: I know the pleasure of being turned towards others. This kind of mission has three advantages: it serves as a guide for accepting or refusing the requests of others, serves as a scale for evaluating the level of satisfaction during the final stretch of one’s life, and avoids falling into the trap of having more or less positive reactions concerning the accomplishments of others (no, I did not do what a neighbor or colleague succeeded in, I made a different choice which I assume).
My family mission was as follows: develop, in harmony with my spouse, the autonomy of our three children and support them in their development. The inspirational person for this stream was my mother and the categorical statement was: my family is my most important customer. A beautiful commitment… which was difficult for me to deliver even though I had the invaluable help of my spouse who decided, at the age of 37, to devote her energies to the family… to the dismay of his friends.
John Stuart Mill wrote in 1869: “Without domestic justice, social justice is never going to be achieved for women.” He was so right to imply that the division of labor between spouses is unequal because of the supposed deep nature of women: as if it were normal for them to think about meals, homework, everything, whatever. The family mission therefore needs to be discussed, or rather negotiated with your spouse.
My personal mission was very simple: not to sacrifice health for any other benefit and to maintain certain friendships. As for the professional mission, I doubt that you need my help to determine it. I believe that three ingredients are required for success: ambition, focus and action. In my opinion, writing a mission gives focus and invites action.
So there is only one thing left, to have an ambitious mission. That’s what I wish for you.