Work-Life Balance & Five Fingers

Do you love where you work and the type of work you perform?

If so, that’s wonderful. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Appreciate it.

However, don’t confuse work with home.

The former CEO of Kraft Foods, Roger Deromidi, often speaks in my Vanderbilt University classroom. Students enjoy learning about leading a global business, but what often resonates most is his work-life balance discussion.

five fingersDeromidi once met a man on a train year’s ago. It was simply a passing moment, but what the man shared stuck. The traveler told the future CEO to consider the five fingers on his hand.

1. The first finger represents you. It’s the only finger that matters as you are growing up and going through school.

2. Eventually, a second finger, your career, catches your attention. It often competes with the first for your time, energy, and attention.

3. Find a life partner, the third finger becomes important.

4. Have children and the fourth finger appears.

5. As you mature, the fifth finger, which represents your contribution or legacy becomes key.

His point was that each finger is unique and that successful people learn to keep them separate and don’t treat them as the same thing. Doing so may seem convenient in the short-term, but comes at a long-term cost.

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