Big Questions, Little Answers

Posted by on August 19, 2013

The Wizard Answers a Survey on a Marvelous Monday Morning

In about 6 months, a new book will be released that I believe will be fascinating, helpful and a bargain at any price. I’m aware of the book only because I recently answered some questions submitted to me by it’s authors, Debra Dinnocenzo and Rick Swegan, and thought, “These are some really great questions. I’m anxious to read other people’s responses to them.” For the curious, here are their questions along with my answers:

Q: What techniques do you use to balance all the demands of your life and work? A: I’m not sure “balance” is the right word, as it implies fair and equal treatment of all obligations. I think perhaps a better word is “prioritize.” I believe that the key to maintaining one’s sanity today is the ability to separate the truly important from the merely urgent. The question that you must continually ask yourself is, “What, exactly, are the consequences of NOT doing this?” A couple of years ago I received a summons to jury duty that informed me that I was required BY LAW to appear at a certain place at a certain time. I said, “I wonder what happens if I don’t show up? Do they send a police officer to my door? Do they mail me a nasty note saying that I’m a bad American? Do they kick my cocker spaniel?” I ignored the summons and nothing happened. (Yes, I am a bad person.)

Q: How do you limit your accessibility to avoid interruptions to personal time?
A: Neither my clients nor my staff know my home phone number or my cell phone number. When I’m not at the office, I’m not at work. Walking out the door each night, I make peace with my decision to quit for the day by saying, “Let worlds collide, let millions die. I’ve done all I can.” The next day when I arrive at the office and find that planets did not collide and millions did not die as a result of my having left a few things undone, I happily get back to work.

Q: How do you completely disconnect from work?
A: I aggressively pursue things that I think are interesting. I research, read, go shopping, and repair stuff. Pennie (my wife and business partner) and I have a rule that we never discuss the office at home. Never.

Q: How do you unwind, reenergize and renew your spirit/energy?
A: Waking up curious in the middle of the night, I write. It’s currently 3:41AM.

Q: How do you maintain a sense of community and real human contact?
A: Each day, I leave and eat lunch outside the office, usually someplace quiet and with cloth napkins. It’s my rule never to eat alone and to always pick up the tab. I believe that outside of marriage there is little human contact as intimate as sharing a meal with someone in a quiet place.

Q: How do you manage the barrage of e-mail, voice mail, and information that exists?
A: I respond to only 2 or 3 inquiries each day, but each of these receives a full and complete response from me. Today, I am responding to you. The senders of the other 162 emails currently on my desktop will either assume that I’m rude, or that I don’t care, or that I’m too busy to respond. I can’t change what they think. Neither can I put more hours on the clock. I believe that the people most likely to lay awake at night are the ones who feel they must answer the telephone every time it rings, type responses to every email and make return calls to every caller who leaves a message. May the Lord have pity on those poor souls… Amen.

Q: How does the organization you work for help or hinder you in achieving focus and balance?
A: I don’t believe that an organization can help, or hinder, the individual in their search for personal peace. Contentment is not drawn from a person’s circumstances or from their surroundings. Anyone who believes their employer can contribute to, or detract from, their sense of wellbeing is probably going to live a life without it. Peace comes from the inside, not the outside.

Roy H. Williams

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