Have you ever wondered where your head is at times? It happens to me when I am so focused on something that I sometimes miss important things that needed to be done at certain times and I pay the price. I am referring to things like submitting our car registration by a certain date, paying a bill by the due date, remembering a birthday, calling in a prescription before we run out or doing the laundry before we have nothing to wear, the maintenance of life. That is when the words “Was that really today?” resonates in my head. When that happens, I know it’s time to step back, take a break and regroup.
Some of the things that are missed are things that are important to someone else. By not doing something by a certain date, as promised, causes problems for that individual and we lose credibility with them as our friend.
With all the activity surrounding the launch of my new website, my focus has been all consuming on the act of getting it done. That has been at the expense of my family and friends. They have been very understanding and to that I am grateful. But now the site is launched and I am deep into the next phase of changing and tweaking the site as we find things that would be an improvement. I have been mindful of not letting the maintenance of life slip and not missing events that are important to my family and friends. However there was a time when that wasn’t the case and I really messed up, losing a good friend as a result. So here is my story.
I was new manager and had just come to realize how difficult the job really was. I was determined to be a success. That determination was all consuming which did not allow room for anyone or anything. I had a very good friend, by the name of Sally, who had always been available to listen to my frustrations and concerns whenever I needed an ear. Lately, she had been calling often and had asked if we could have lunch. Sally added she really needed to talk and could seriously use my advice. I had put her off several times for many varying reasons, all work related. Sally finally persuaded me to set a date. I marked it on my office and appointment calendar. The lunch date was a week away and on a Saturday, a none work day, so I felt I could easily make the time.
The week before our lunch date was extraordinarily hectic and frustrating. Nothing seemed to go the way I thought it should. Sally called me on Thursday to confirm our Saturday date and to make sure it was still workable for me. I answered her with an absent minded “sure” and quickly got her off the phone with the typical the work excuses so that I could go on to “more important” tasks at hand. I was so absorbed in myself and the job I didn’t even realize how I sounded and how I may have hurt my friends feelings.
Saturday morning had arrived and I was up very early to go to the office to work on an assignment that I felt needed to get done without delay. My husband reminded me about my lunch date with Sally. I acknowledged that I remembered and then put it out of my mind. I am sure you can quess what happened. I was concentrating intensely on my project. The phone rang and I unconsciously answered it. Sally was on the other end asking where I was. I look up at the clock and saw that it was now 1pm. I was unpset that I had missed an appointment, much less with a very good friend and someone who had always been there for me. I apologized profusely and begged her forgiveness. She sounded unhappy but said she understood and asked if we could reschedule so we did just that. We set another date for the next Saturday, same time and same place. To insure I didn’t miss it the next time I marked it in large red letters on the calendar in my office, made a special note and set an alarm on my appointment calendar.
The following week was as hectic and as crazy as the last. I was driving myself and my staff crazy, all to insure that I was the perfect manger and to achieve the success I knew I wanted. My boss was on my back about one thing or another and I wasn’t sure just how I was going to get everything done and run my sales team. I had completely lost focus on what the real priorities were, both at work and at home. The week was a blur and Saturday was now upon me. I went to the office and AGAIN I was so busy working that I missed my lunch date with Sally. When I got the call I was mortified. This time Sally was not so understanding and made it very clear that our friendship was in trouble and told me not to bother setting another date. She wished me well and abruptly ended to call.
It was a wake up call for me. I remember setting at my desk feeling very alone and I cried. When I was able to collect myself, I packed up my stuff, closed the office and went home. When I walked in the door my husband was waiting for me. Sally had called the house before reaching me at the office. My husband was very kind and let me talk about all that I was feeling about work, life ,family and everything else that was bottled up inside until I had no more to say. Then he asked if he could make an observation and he said; “No job, no matter how importnat it may seem, is worth losing friends over”. He went on to say that he missed me, as did our family. He also said; “You have been so absorbed in your job that you have missed some very important events in our lives and that worries me. We have tried very hard to talk to you but you just don’t seem to hear us. I am hoping this is the wake-up call you have needed to start learning how to balance work and home”. I have often said, when the student is ready the teacher arrives and he did that day.
I later learned from a mutual friend that Sally had left her husband and was in the process of getting a divorce. I now know what it was she wanted to talk about and I wasn’t there for her when she really needed me the most. I couldn’t go back and fix that wrong but I could learn from it and be mindful not to make the same mistake in the future.
I can honestly say I learned more lessons than I can recount from that expereince. Balancing work and home has not and is not easy, but it SO very important to make every effort to do so. For me, it is and always will be a work in progress. I have learned that it is important to step away from work or whatever is consuming us to help provide perspective; see the forest for the trees, so to speak.
Since that time I have worked hard to not miss important events, to take every opportunity to have lunch or spend time with my friends and family and to be there when someone is in need of what ever I can offer. It is something my family and friends appreciate and we both gain something from for many different and varying reasons. It is all a part of “Finding Our Way Now” and into the future.
Life’s journey continues…
FYI: Check out what another Blogger & Friend wrote about me and my Personal Challenge on yourlifetheirlife.com. While you’re there check out the really great tools and suggestions he has on money management.