On a recent Zoom call with a few of my favorite entrepreneurs from around the world, we talked through one person’s concern about everything in his life becoming about work, or at least seen through that filter, and his fear of becoming a one-dimensional, boring human (which I’ve also long suffered with)…by the way, if you couldn’t tell I have some AWESOMELY deep conversations with my friends. 🙂

I’ve noticed a similar paradox growing in myself over the last few months. My Clarity of Vision is increasing dramatically. I’m able to see much farther and in much greater detail the myriad of complex alternative paths with every action and reaction, which has been both more necessary and more important with everything going on. 

In the current environment, the speed of change is faster and the stakes are higher, creating extreme sports-like focus. I’ve also noticed my mind is a lot quieter, the self-doubts and imposter syndrome (although still there) are no longer using up nearly as much mental energy. I’m able to make decisions with Certainty of Intent and convey/discuss the implications and alternatives clearly with my team. 

The game has really slowed down, and I’m able to navigate the nuances with remarkable clarity and confidence. My mental (and emotional) focus is diving deeper and deeper into these tangled future paths attempting to discern what I can control vs influence vs only respond, and ensuring I am putting as many of the right things in motion at the right times to maximize optionality…with pretty good outcomes thus far.

But for every super-power, there is a super-shadow, and I’m noticing the dark side growing with all of this as well. 

Much like the Basketball Passing video, as I am locking in my focus, all other aspects of my life are getting squeezed into my peripheral vision at best…and becoming an emotionally taxing distraction at worst. The idea of going and playing 9 holes of golf, seems like a repulsive waste of time…”Daddy can you play with me?” no longer the sweetest words I could hear but an unwelcomed distraction.

Growing up on a 5th generation dairy farm, work ethic was literally bred into my DNA. Over the entrepreneurial years (which are somewhat akin to dog years), I’ve been able to keep that beast in its cage keeping some semblance of mental/emotional balance–which I find much harder to control than time. 

With the landscape of business and life changing daily in front of our eyes, that beast has been released and is running ramshod in my life. It has both hands firmly planted on the wheel and is navigating all the challenges, opportunities, and rough terrain with remarkable skill and control.

…and I like it, no-no-no…I LOVE it. 

But I don’t love the idea of becoming a one-dimensional, boring human. 

And I don’t love the idea of becoming emotionally withdrawn and socially (not just physically) distant.

And I don’t love the idea of becoming so immersed in the game that life just passes me right on by.

So the questions I am posing to myself and now pose to you:

  • How can I be really good in my work while not sucking at life?
  • How can an extreme focus co-exist with an integrated, healthy life?
  • Does this level of focus require less cognitive resources after a few laps around the track of experience?
  • Is this just yet another example of “this too shall pass” and just a season for the ages requiring imbalanced thinking to just be counterbalanced next season?

Are you feeling any similar internal shifts? If so, I’d love to hear how are you working through it.

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