“Without the element of enjoyment, it is not worth trying to excel at anything.”

– Magnus Carlsen, Youngest Chess Grandmaster in the world.

I’m one of those people who compartmentalize work and life. When I work, I work very hard, and am very focused. When I travel, I schedule things back to back, and then come home.

And when I’m not work, I focus completely on time with family and friends – aside from critical calls or text messages.

I was in a scheduling predicament for a meeting, and an event with Jim Collins (in London, England) on a Tuesday; and then another meeting in another part of the world that didn’t start ‘til Sunday. I could either come back to Vancouver for two days, or stay a few extra days in London. But hanging out in a city by myself is not on the top of my fun-things-to-do list.

Then, inspired by another CEO who often takes his kids on international trips, I decided to take my 13-year old son with me. And it turned out to be an absolutely amazing experience – the ultimate balance between achievement and enjoyment.








Our Adventure

Together, we saw Jim Collins deliver a live keynote to a massive audience in the ExCeL London Convention Centre, and then my son assisted me, as I facilitated a private workshop for 30 CEOs.  Dinner at a Gordon Ramsay restaurant followed.

We blended everything together: he had an experience of seeing me at work, and to be a part of what I do – and he opened up a whole new window, for me, to the city we were in. We met up with a friend who is a chef now living there, went to the iconic Selfridge’s, and checked out Harrod’s famous food floor, and their new virtual reality system that makes you feel like you’re in the middle of a video game.

We toured the Morgan car factory to see how these classic sports cars are still handcrafted today, and a master photography instructor taught us techniques along bank of the Thames. We also took the Tube, and rode a double decker bus, just to see where it would take us.

Although I’m an adventurer and explorer at heart, I have a glitch in my head that when I’m away for work, I’m not up for doing much. With my son there, I had permission to enjoy what the city had to offer. I even enjoyed my work more.

This demonstrates the power of a one-on-one adventure with someone you care about. When you go solo or with a group, it’s one kind of experience. But when you are with a spouse, a parent or a child, what it does for your relationship is amazing. At the end of the day, life is really about sharing great experiences with people you love. And if I’d waited for the right time to open up, we may not have had the adventure at all.

Many high-performing people are extremely achievement oriented, focused on getting a job done, moving things ahead. As a result they often forget to build in enjoyment – the time to refuel, and bring more spark to their spirit.

Coach Kevin’s Challenge

  • How can you bring more soul-filling enjoyment into the picture while you are achieving?