Monday, March 15, 2010

Loving Monday: How We Fall Apart

Building in Chelsea

What keeps a business, a family strong?

Beckett's chapter on 'family strength' focuses on balancing family and work, but I wondered if it might nicely dovetail with another book I've been reading How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In.

While Beckett talked about the need to balance family and work, in some ways adding even more responsibilities to a person's mental plate, I considered whether there might be a subtle alternative.

Stop trying to balance it all, and just trim the "all", on both the business and family side of things. Heck, not just business and family, but also spiritual and recreational. (Yes, Ann K., I did think of Not So Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families)

In How the Mighty Fall, Jim Collins notes that companies who are doing well sometimes get "insulated by success" which causes them to "lose sight of the true underlying factors that created success in the first place." This can lead to an undisciplined pursuit of more— "more scale, more growth, more acclaim," characterized by "growing faster than they can achieve with excellence."

Collins sums it up, "Although complacency and resistance to change remain dangers to any successful enterprise, overreaching better captures how the mighty fall."

And this is why I didn't feel guilty on Sunday when I missed church because we missed the time change.

My husband slept in for a long time, my Eldest daughter was fooling around with Spanish guitar (something daddy's been teaching her in the evenings now), and my youngest worked on a book she's writing (which my eldest is secretly turning into a graphic novel). I made a cup of tea, moved around the kitchen cleaning slowly (Sundays always get me down when I come home to the morning mess after church).

It felt good to have trimmed the day, and I wondered why I had to wait for a mistake to make it happen.

Skyscraper in Chelsea photo, by L.L. Barkat.

HighCallingBlogs Tightrope
Glynn's Loving Monday: Writing a Vision
Monica's Loving Monday: Vision and Balance
Lyla's Loving Monday: Why Family Matters

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Blogger ELK said...

LL yes . the trimming is essential..i stood at my kitchen window and just.stopped.moving.
saw a leaf .click.

you worshiped Sunday.just a different form and that is OK

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Ann Kroeker said...

Great analysis here of how we can "lose sight of the true underlying factors that created success in the first place," whether that success is in our family or business.

We've discovered the same thing you're writing about here: that our family simply can't do it all. No matter how educational, entertaining or enriching an activity may be, if it's going to throw us into a season of stress and strain, we trim it...we turn it down.

I need to do that now. Our schedule is squishing us.

You might enjoy reading Shrinking the Camel's recent "Time Mis-Management" post--he sounds like he could use a trim, as well.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Billy Coffey said...

Ah, trimming. So necessary, I think. And it's always something I feel a little guilty doing when I begin but feel much better when I'm done. I'm not going to wait for my next mistake to do this.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Maureen said...

I do wish I understood this sense of urgency that so many seem to have "do it all" or "have it all", and why it takes what Andrea Learned calls "brick-wall experiences" to show that there's nothing sustainable in that approach to either working or living. What keeps us from taking responsibility for living and working intentionally and with an eye toward the benefits of that for all of us? The really courageous people are those who can say, with not a twinge of guilt, "I am enough."

3:48 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Guilt is not a productive emotion. I think we would all be much more productive if we made a few mistakes like yours once in a while--on purpose.

If you read Monica's post, you'll see how Vision got in the way...I can be like that too. So caught up in the minutiae that I miss the point entirely.

There is a lot to be said for simplicity. I struggle with the complicated parts of life. Sometimes, though, we must pass through a season of complicated to get to the simple.

Anyway...I love this post. I'm taking it to heart.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i like the way sunday turned out for you and the family. a breath of fresh air.

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Lyla Lindquist said...

I think a Sunday morning under the teaching of Rev. Whitesheets is not such a bad thing...

I almost took my post this morning to the "continuous improvement" area that Beckett touched on just at the end of ch. 21, but couldn't quite get there in my current state of mind without stepping on toes all over again.

That said, I'll try it here instead. It seems to me that in our quest for excellence we mistakenly believe that every last thing has room for improvement. Many things do, but many are excellent just as they are. In that quest, we change and uproot and scurry and sometimes decimate good things looking for something "better."

Better doesn't always turn out to be that at all.

8:17 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I guess I've thought of balance in terms of removing something if necessary.
Even if temporarily.
Sometimes to do one thing well is enough. Sometimes to be good enough instead of best leaves room for the unplanned blessings of life. The God moments as some call them.

loved this glimpse into your home

10:29 PM  
Blogger Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

This: "overreaching better captures how the mighty fall"

Hits hard... and true.

Thank you, Laura... I wish a family I knew long ago -- had known this.

All's grace,

10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have Collins book too, and am just about to launch into it. I am actually leading a discussion with my exec team on it.
I trimmed way back a couple years ago, but then have noticed that gradually the commitments have crowded back into my life. Ugh. The problem is that they are all good. But I've already determined what's getting trimmed. I have two more months to go...Then I am back to saying "no."

6:13 AM  
Blogger Louise Gallagher said...

Thanks for this -- LOL -- and then, I make a mental note to add to my list, Must get that book...

uhhuh -- and add it to the stack beside my bed, beside my desk....

Perhaps to start with the advice of trimming, I need to whittle down the stack before adding to it!

thank you for this -- good post!


8:41 AM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, good post. I read this on Facebook, but can't retrieve my comment there since I am off facebook during work hours for my big (ha) sacrifice for Lent.

Eugene Peterson made the point in one of his books which I interpreted as meaning that we should do less. And I kind of take that to point to getting into a rhythm of life that works for each of us, and is conducive for our life in God through Christ. We do need to stop in our tracks quite often in that life, and likely shut down at key points, rather than going on in the way we're going (as in repentace; giving to God what he alone can forgive and change).

Good thoughts, L.L.

(Your book isn't in yet, but should be in any day now, I would think. I look forward to getting my copy and beginning to get into it- slowly, but steadily :)

10:00 AM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Used an obsolete credit card I found out yesterday evening. So I'll be ordering early this next week. I look forward to getting a feel and new appreciation for poetry. I think I already love poetry, but hardly know it. After all a good share of the Bible is poetry.

6:45 PM  

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