The Coach's Corner

Archive for January, 2020

There Is No Work-Life Balance

January 27th, 2020 // Tom Doescher //

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

is the provocative title of an article co-authored by a Michigan Supreme Court justice and a Michigan law school professor.

Despite its title, the article is the best summary of this complex subject that I’ve ever read. As many of you know, for decades Plante Moran has put a lot of value on work-life balance. Until I read this article, I never really focused on the actual words. I won’t even attempt to summarize the article, but after you read it, please consider the following:

  1. I prefer using the label “flextime” instead of work-life balance.
  2. To me, the real question is: What do you want out of life?
  3. A second question would be: What is your purpose, or your “why”?
  4. Maybe you want to use the word happiness. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, after 80 years, the Harvard Study of Adult Development has concluded the happiest and healthiest people have at least one good relationship.

The answers to the above questions are different for all of us.

As many of you know, I had a very demanding, challenging, all-consuming career at Plante Moran, which I thank God for providing me. That being said, because of the Plante Moran flextime policy, I was able to:

  1. Attend many of my son’s cross-country meets on weekday afternoons.
  2. Participate in many of my children’s parent-teacher conferences and other daytime events.
  3. Ski at more than 40 North American resorts during tax season.
  4. Lead 30 mission teams to countries all over the world.
  5. Play lots of tennis.

I think you get the point. As long as I took care of my clients and my team, I was able to take advantage of flextime.

The authors make a great case for how some may inappropriately try to separate and draw clear distinctions in their activities. One of my personal goals is to integrate my whole life. Here are some examples:

  1. I mentor a 14-year-old orphan who lives in Flint and enjoys art. To help him envision potential opportunities that are art-related, he and I have visited several Flint businesses where an artist could work. (By the way, since I’m new to Flint, these could also be future clients of Doescher Advisors.) How would I classify these visits on a work-life balance scale? Business? Ministry? Life?
  2. For Doescher Advisors clients who are interested in integrating their faith into their business, I share applicable Bible verses. Is this a business or a faith activity?
  3. Almost every day, I exercise at the gym. Many members of my parish work out there, too. I have clients and referral sources at the gym, as well. How do I classify that time?
  4. My wife and I are funding a scholarship in memory of our daughter at our local Catholic high school. As a result of this involvement, we’ve met many Flint business owners. How do you classify that time?

Once again, I think you get the point. Back to the original topic of work-life balance: My advice would be to find a place or start a business where you have the flexibility to live out your “Dream!”

A Life Without Anxiety

January 13th, 2020 // Tom Doescher //

Living a life free of anxiety is the promise of Dr. Gregory Popcak, author of Unworried. According to Dr. Popcak, anxiety tends to be a fear response triggered by something that either happened a long time ago, has not yet happened, or may not actually be happening at all. For instance, have you ever been afraid you said something embarrassing (or wish you hadn’t said it) while out to dinner with your friends (or client/customer), so you kept replaying the scene in your head and experienced a low-grade sense of dread? Or, say you emailed or texted a friend (or client/customer) and didn’t get a response — have you felt anxious that something must be wrong? (Editor’s note: I confess this is me. I’m a world-class worrier. Ask my partner.)

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

Dr. Popcak begins by differentiating between fear and anxiety/worry. He would say fear is the natural, biological, and appropriate response to an imminent threat. When the fear systems in our brain work properly, they serve a protective function, warning us of danger and then easing off once the threat has passed. In contrast to fear, anxiety is when the brain’s natural fear circuits get hijacked by something that isn’t an immediate danger or could even be good for us.

Think about your life — where you work, live, and play. Now think about your parents or grandparents. I bet your life is filled with way more activity and travel. You may live in an urban setting that’s more stressful, or your kids have endless sports and other activities (I grew up surrounded by farms, where in the summer, the neighborhood kids met every day to play unsupervised baseball; I think you get the point). And you wonder why you’re feeling stressed!

I won’t attempt to summarize the book, but if anything I’ve said resonates in your mind, I would highly recommend investing some time in Unworried. Like many authors of the books I’ve read in the past few years, Dr. Popcak describes the need to reprogram our brain, and he strongly believes we can. In explaining what to do, he uses the metaphor of creating surge-protection as well as a treatment called cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), and limiting or eliminating the use of medications. This book provides well-grounded hope for the worrier.

As someone with anxiety, I plan to incorporate Dr. Popcak’s advice into my life.

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Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

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