Apr 18, 2022 2 min read

Critical career questions and balancing you portfolio.

Level up your leadership. Each edition is a 3 min read, and contains an original article summary, an actionable snippet, a set of reflection prompts, and a reading recommendation.​


Original Article Summary

In my article on career change, I explore how over time we forget to ask the critical questions of (1) where we are heading and (2) if we like the ride.

Many of us start off in our careers really early and never consider the fact that over time we have changed and so have our values and priorities.

Often, societal norms amongst many others tend to cloud this fact. Money tends to be the dominant one.

The article explores the framework of time, energy, and identity as value exchanges in addition to that of money.

Integrity and purpose are key factors of peak performance. This is doubly so in leadership.

Not paying attention to the two questions can lead to loss of integrity and purpose over time that can ultimately lead to lack of power in what we do.

Click here for the entire article.​


Actionable Snippet

For some of us overachievers and driven types, our work can become all consuming at the cost of all other aspects. In The Practice of Adaptive Leadership, the authors apply the idea of a balanced portfolio in investing to the practice of our leadership and our lives.

Invest your need for meaning in your life in more than one place. Have what the investment advisers call a balanced portfolio.

​Shakespeare’s King Lear learned too late that he needed to find meaning and develop skill in his role as a father as well as his role as a king. ​Look for meaning in multiple places in both your personal and your professional life.

Find it in your community life and in the care you take to exercise your mind and body to keep them both functioning at a high level as you grow older. Find it in the friendships that sustain you at difficult moments and provide a means to share and amplify your life’s joys. ​

Narrowing your life’s meaning to a single sphere, whether it is your work or home or civic or religious life, makes you vulnerable when there are major shifts in the environment in which you are solely invested.

It's a good practice to set aside time every six months or atleast yearly, to look at the different areas in our lives and see if our “portfolio” is out of balance and if any “rebalancing” is needed.

When is the last time you “rebalanced” your portfolio?


Reflection Questions

Consider the following in the light of rebalancing your portfolio:

  • Which of your “accounts” or life areas are out of balance? Consider why that might be.
  • Are you making the mistake of focusing on a couple of areas at the expense of the others? Are you ok with this?
  • When is the last time you rebalanced your portfolio?​

Leader’s Library

This week’s reading recommendation is a book, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

Pursuing anything worthwhile in life is a creative act, which by definition means there are no guaranteed results. If there was a guarantee, then it would not be a creative act.

This means uncertainty and it stops many of us in our tracks.

Pressfield helps us navigate this unknown terrain and it comes from a practitioner who is at the peak of his powers.

Whether it’s a new job, a new career, being a new parent, or any other project we are being challenged to our core, this book is a go-to resource for some old-fashioned gut check to stay the course and push through.

While not a leadership book per se, it should be required reading for anyone pushing themselves to the next level.

It’s a short read but packs a punch. If you can get the audiobook version even better.

That’s it for this edition. Have a great week!

– Sheril Mathews

Sheril Mathews
After a 20 year stint in various technical/management/leadership/ positions in the wilds of corporate America I started LS to help leaders & high performers level up their game.
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