Choose your heroes carefully Jan.10.12

Jason Bouwman Written by Jason Bouwman
Superboy image

Last year we lost an iconic product designer, marketing guru and powerful businessman in Steve Jobs. The day after he died I posted a brief tribute admiring him for his tenacity, creativity and accomplishments. But in the time since his death I’ve learned some more details about the man which has led me to recalibrate my admiration of his values and challenge myself as to which examples I will follow.

It seems Steve’s successes came at a great cost: his family. When asked by his biographer, Walter Isaacson, why he finally wanted to do a biography after turning down many publishers previously, Jobs’ answer was “So my children will know me.”

“I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did,” Jobs told Isaacson in their final interview at Jobs’ home in Palo Alto, California.

It’s the start of another New Year. Most of us are back to work after spending a week with the people we care about most in our lives. But now that we’re no longer in holiday mode, will our families still be getting the best of our attention and love? Not if we’re driven by the prevailing notion that to survive in this hyper-competitive economy we must spend even more time at work.

I don’t want to just pick on Steve Jobs.

There are many voices urging us to work harder and longer, to sacrifice more and raise the bar even higher, all in the name of winning. No holds barred. Even our own voice is too often part of the chorus. “If I just work a little harder….”

I believe in working hard. My parents taught me that. The book of Proverbs says, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” No pain, no gain. I get it.

My question is this: Is business the only game in life worth winning?

When it comes to mentors, I think we need to be critical of those who succeed wildly at business or on the stage or on the ice but who are failing at home. Our heroes need to include stay-at-home moms, dedicated dads, little league coaches, brothers, sisters, pastors and teachers. We need to honour the people winning in their relationships, encourage those who are working hard to be good parents and lend a helping hand to those caring for the neighbour in need.

Near the end of last year our team here at Compass went through an exercise to write down the values that will guide our work life. One of the most important values we identified was family. It means simply that we consider it a failure to succeed at work at the expense of home life.

Of course, there will be times in the coming year when herculean effort is required. There will be times when extra hours will need to be logged at the office or on the jobsite. There will be times when the responsibilities of work will require sacrifices by our families. There may be times when significant learning opportunities will require time away from home. These are times we will need to rise to the occasion. But these times need to be balanced with ample time focused on the people who rely on us most deeply.

Here’s hoping that 2012 is a happy and prosperous year for you and your family. By working hard at all of life you’ll be making a real impact and leaving a meaningful legacy. I hope one day your family, friends and clients alike will rise and bless you for the impact you had on their life – through the time they spent with you, NOT by reading about your exploits in a book.

Happy New Year!

Jan 10, 1:19 pm

This is good to keep in mind this year as many people will be trying work their way out of debt and get ahead by taking on an extra part-time job.

Jan 10, 1:35 pm

Well said Jay.

Jan 10, 1:36 pm

Very well said.

Jan 10, 1:39 pm

My sentiment exactly, you captured everything so well. I will print this text and make sure I remember my priorities. All the best to you and your team. may this new year bring you all the best you may wish for!

Jan 10, 1:39 pm

Well written Jay! Definitely words to remember throughout the entire year. Happy New Year to you and your family as well!

Jan 10, 1:47 pm

Hi Jason,

Been a long time since we have availed ourselves of your services, but I look forward to every communique you produce. Thanks for sending on this important message - I will take this message to heart and will do my best to ensure my whole team follows these same thoughts for the upcoming year. Well Said!

Best Regards to you and your family and the whole Compass Creative Team and Best Wishes for a Happy, Safe, Prosperous and Family Filled New Year in 2012.

Gerry Smith
VP - Merchandising
The John Forsyth Shirt Company Ltd

Jan 10, 1:48 pm

happy new year to you and yours. Always appreciate your blogs and more often than not benefit from the content! best in 2012!

Jan 10, 1:57 pm

Well said, Jay...though it makes me wonder if keeping that balance is the reason that many of us never achieve "greatness" or "being at the top of our field". Could it be that sacrificing our family is one of the choices that people make...on their journey? Sometimes those choices of sacrificing family may be thought of as for the greater good. It is amazing how many people (of faith too) sacrificed family to achieve greatness. Just my thoughts today.

Jan 10, 2:02 pm


Jan 10, 2:13 pm

Well done, Jay. For me it is about identifying the idols in my life, recognizing, too, that good things can become idols.

We need to hear these reminders more often. I believe we have put work/"success" on a pedestal that is raised too high - way too much of our identity gets wrapped up in it...

Thanks for the reminder – don’t be afraid to have others remind you once in a while too.

Blessings for 2012

Jan 10, 2:16 pm

Great article Jay!

Jan 10, 3:20 pm

Finally! A company whose stated values are worth the paper on which they are written. Let us celebrate with you and your families--we would like to offer your staff and their families a day's outing at Oasis Retreat in Freelton. No charge. This company gets it.

Smithville Lib.
Jan 10, 3:33 pm

A well written article. Good food for thought, Thanks for including us in your mailing.

Jan 10, 4:10 pm

Hey Jason - it was wonderfully coincidental that your post came in today about 10 minutes after the owner of one of my clients was telling me how disappointed he'd been after reading the Jobs book, for the same reasons you describe.

A great 2012 to you and the Compass team!

Jan 10, 4:13 pm

Beautiful, Uncle Jay! Thanks for sharing!

Jan 10, 4:54 pm

We appreciate your reflections on the so-called captains of industry, banking and other endeavours. When the Lord blesses our work, the real question then becomes, to whose benefit and glory. I am reminded of those with ample means in the 1500 and 1600s who used their riches to support the spread of the the Reformed, Christian faith. Rich or not, let us be busy to His glory and share the Hope that is in us and we will be mored blessed than Steve Jobs was in this life.

Jan 10, 5:18 pm

Well written, gives food for thought...and then to act on it:)
Happy New Year and God's blessings to you and yours!

Jan 10, 7:34 pm

First, to avoid confusion here:

My first name is last name is JASON...I'm a retired history teacher with an M.A in history who currently runs a daily email news service rooted in Judeo-Christian ethos.

Having got that out of the way, allow me again thank Jason for another magnificent piece, well-written, well-thought out, well expressed...enjoyed it thoroughly.

After reading it, I immediately posted it to my 2000+ readers.

Thank you very much, Jason...Merci beaucoup...Muchas gracias...Danke schön.

In HIS service

Jan 11, 5:13 am

Very thought provoking and thoughts that many "can relate & apply to their lives" now & in the future. What we choose to do with those thoughts is in each of us. As a Mother,business owner, wife, daughter,sister,Individual I often try to balance and excel at all of these and realize it will be a constant challenge but identify that my children(young adults) are my #1 priority and I will constantly challenge myself to be a mentor for them through being all of the other "me's" in this life... Thank you for stating many of our own thoughts wishing you health,prosperity and all the best to you in 2012.

Jan 11, 10:09 am

Thanks for the well written aticle Jason. The start of the new year is always a good time to look back and assess the good, the bad, and the future.

That being said each one of us who said family is important need to put an action plan to it. What are the values that guide our home life? Life is tough and we should not be deceived into thinking victory will come without a battle. How as a family are we going to stand firm together, united, to resist the busyness of our work, school, extra activities etc. Do we strive personally and as a family to put on the full armor of God. Ephesians 6v13.

Our family has started our new year with a plan, it may change and evolve (and that's ok) but through it all our heart's desire will be to stay focused on God's glory.

We need to encourage one another as much as possible to stay focused and as you said "Choose our heroes carefully!"

Happy New Year!

Jan 11, 1:19 pm

Agreed. I always operate with "family first" in mind. Yes, it's important to work hard in order to provide for your family, otherwise your wife will smack you if your've living in your in-laws basement with no intention of working.

A common thought always runs through my mind, "what's it worth?". If you're goal is not to love God and love people in all you do, there really is no point in our success. I've seen great people who live a wonderful life trusting God and loving their family...those are the truly successful folks that need to be pointed out.

It's nice to know other people notice this and so wonderful to see it posted on the internet. "Like" this!

Jan 19, 9:03 am

Wow Barb! Thanks for that generous offer! We're humbled.

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