Monday, January 23, 2006


Usually, when I write here, I’m giving advice. I’m drawing from my experience in business and life and I’m telling you what to do. Sometimes that’s hard, practical advice, sometimes that’s softer, more personal advice.

But today, I’m going to talk about something I need help with, too.


To do that, I need to share something very personal with you, with a bit of backstory. My son, now 6, has both Cerebral Palsy and Cystic Fibrosis. The CF makes him very susceptible to respiratory infections and diseases, and the Cerebral Palsy keeps him in a wheelchair. Neither one keeps him from being a constant fount of fun and inspiration for our family and those that know him. He’s a sharp and cute kid.

About once a year, usually in the winter, he’ll get a respiratory bug and he’ll go into the hospital for what’s called a CF cleanout. They do intensive respiratory therapies and lots of anti-biotics. It takes about 10 days of inpatient treatment (during which time the little flirt wraps the nursing staff around his little finger).

The cleanout has become a part of our routine. He gets admitted and we adjust our lives so that one of us can stay up with him at all times. It’s not convenient, but we work it out. It’s not scary, either, because it’s something that happens once a year. Most kids go their entire childhood and will never stay overnight in the hospital. With Jake, we can count on it once, twice or even three times a year, for various reasons.

So, a few days ago, he was coughing really hard, and running a fever, so we took him in and they admitted him and started the cleanout process. Normal stuff, like I said, no need to panic.

I stayed up with him over the weekend, since Mom does it most of the time during the week. Saturday morning, his monitors started alarming, and he went into a fiebral seizure. That means the doctors think the seizure happened because of the fever.

For the next couple of hours, there was a small army in and out of his room as the hospital staff worked their magic to help him recover. Then he spent some time down in the Pediatric ICU, before finally returning to his normal room later that evening.

Just so you’re not worried, he came back to himself pretty quickly and is back to his cleanout routine of watching Cartoon Network and insisting that the nurses play him in Candyland.

The point I’m getting to in all of this, is that in the middle of the seizure and the recovery, while I was helplessly watching the staff doing their jobs (and doing it quite well, I might add), and praying for his (and my own) strength, nothing mattered but his recovery. I wasn’t thinking about checking my emails, I wasn’t thinking about my search engine ranking, and I didn’t think for a moment about checking on any orders.

And that’s as it should be. In a moment of total personal crisis, there are some things that simply take precedence over business. I don’t think there are any among us reading this that would expect anything different.

But, after the crisis passed, I found myself thinking about my kids, and about how often I brush their needs aside because “I have to do this”, or “I have to get that done”. Now, as the principal breadwinner of the family, I know that I have to work, and work hard to earn a living. And that’s also good and right. But sometimes, I also have to realize that it’s good to find balance. When there’s not a crisis going on, it’s OK to spend some time on business, and some time with family. It’s OK to lose a game or two of Yu-Gi-Oh to my other son, so that he still feels connected while his brother is away. I can do my other work after they go to bed, or while they’re in school. I can make it work.

What about your life? You can make it work, too. I don’t know your life or your schedule. We all deal with different situations and different challenges. But I do know that on some level, you can make it work, too.

How? I don’t always know how to do it in my own life, so I certainly can’t tell you how to do it in yours. That’s why I started this article with that disclaimer. I just thought that sharing this story might make you ask yourself where you can make room for more balance in your own life and business. In the long run, it will make you more successful at both.

Now, then… Where’s my Yu-Gi-Oh deck?

1 comment:

  1. Balance...

    Is a VERY hard thing for me, Mark. Thank you for this post!

    I just love ya!