Living The (Bad) Dream

Most executives have had to travel on business. Some have to or choose to commute. Some hate it. Others love it. For some, it’s a dream. For others, it’s a nightmare. Which are you?

In my case, for decades I lived in a beautiful place (the Vienna woods) where I could not earn enough to support my lifestyle, so I had to commute for economic reasons (or change my lifestyle).

For almost five years, I drove a huge triangle each week from Vienna to Prague to Moravia and back. At one point I figured out that I was driving 10% of my waking life. Then came a period when I flew to Munich and then on to other locations in Europe each week for seven years, coming home for the weekends. Thereafter I took on an M&A project and for a while commuted monthly between Vienna and Mexico City. Next came Vienna / Dusseldorf for another few years, covering much of Europe in between… again, home on the weekends. Finally, it was Frankfurt that became the destination with stops all across Europe, Hong Kong, and Sydney. In total, on average I flew something like 300,000 miles per year for more than a decade.

Earlier in my career I remember thinking that business travel looked glamorous.

How soon the glamour faded in the face of the grind! But it is not just the physical and emotional toll that such commuting takes on a human being. I realized that I never got to know my neighbors. I knew more about the global economy than I did about the village I supposedly lived in. Home life was unavoidably perfunctory. Exercise was complicated. In short, this really was not the life I had dreamed about.

Ultimately, I realized that I could imagine a life that would suit me better. A life with less travel (maybe none). A local life with social connections in the neighborhood. A meaningful home life. Regular walks in the woods…

And I made it happen.

Many of our clients at the Barrett Group face a similar set of challenges—their jobs have run away with their lives. They have lost balance. They are swimming so hard that they barely have time to come up for air, metaphorically speaking, and they build up an emotional deficit over time that may turn to discontent, resentment, even illness, or in any case, a dull sense of opportunity lost.

That is exactly why we take the time early in our career change process (in the “Targeting” phase) to help clients evaluate where they are in their lives with respect to four key parameters: financial independence, business success, fitness and health, and family and relationships. This is part of our unique Clarity Program© during which our Clarity Coaches help clients work through these questions and come to a clear understanding both on where they are vis-a-vis each of these subjects, and on where they would actually like to be in, say, 12 months. The Clarity Coach then guides the client to realize what the specific steps might be in order to achieve this rebalanced life they have now imagined for themselves. This process helps clients realize that change is within their grasp. They are not helplessly tied to the wheel in the hamster cage. They can be free.

But you need not take our word for it. Listen to what our clients say:

“I am very familiar and experienced with DISC and strategy development, so the [Clarity Program©] process was very efficient and productive for me. Jim tailored our discussions based on my experience level, which allowed us to deep dive on specific topics and examples that really enriched the coaching. I am not able to come up with any improvement suggestions!”

Michael Harper, January 2020

The Clarity Program© is just the first “Targeting” stage in the five-stage Barrett Group Career Change process that helps hundreds of clients clarity their career objectives and land the job of their dreams, usually within 3-6 months if they follow our process.  

There is no excuse for you to live a life that feels like a bad dream. Give us a call and let us dream up something better—together. Dream big!

Peter Irish
The Barrett Group

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