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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Contrast and adventure

I truly enjoy days of contrast, adventure, and variety. And yesterday turned out to be just one of those days, marked (perhaps ironically) by my arriving late on the scene and allowing my cellphone and computer to interrupt attention.

Bad. Bad. But simply put, if I hadn't been 'bad' I couldn't have done everything I wanted to do/see and would have lost out on the opportunities and insights provided by the experiences (and fulfilled obligations to my family, and health).

In the morning, I enjoyed motivational speaker Nicki Joy providing tips and insights to new home sales representatives at an Ottawa-Carleton Home Builders' Association event. (I'll write the story about the speech later this morning and post links in tomorrow's blog entry). In the old days, I would cover these events with my notebook (and try to decipher the writing), or perhaps with a tape recorder (try to transcribe a three hour tape), but now, I simply open my laptop and type -- since I type 70 words plus per minute, I can catch the speech quite effectively.

The laptop also allow me to do something Niki isn't overly fond of -- multitasking, especially during her speech. Arriving late, I sat down just as she was finishing up her request that everyone turn off their cellphones. I didn't. And I'll admit my mind wandered periodically, as the conference centre where she was speaking had a wireless Internet link, and I received and sent at least a dozen emails during the presentation. (Bad, bad, I know, but it is deadline, I have a mass of work to do, and in any case, I am getting the gist of her presentation with more depth than most people because of my active note-taking).

Of course it happened. Of everyone in the audience, I am the only one to actually leave my cell phone on, and it rings. My good friend Mike W. called proposing our usual Tuesday lunch. I said 'sure' -- realizing I would have to duck out before she finished her speech. (Fortunately, this time, arriving late, I had a seat near the back of the hall.)

We have lunch. Mike has sold his business for enough money that, in the late 50s, he doesn't need to work for the rest of his life. I'm not sure I would trade places with him, however. He recently divorced, and I can't see myself spending day after day skiing and traveling. But he is still a friend.

I returned to my office to catch up with staff and our regular meeting, including two strong candidates for sales work with us. Banking, chores, then a decision -- would I be late in attending the swearing in ceremony of a second friend, Stanley Kershman, as an Ontario Superior Court Judge. I could abbreviate the exercise, and arrive on time, but I decided that my health matters the most and in any case I am certainly not a central part of this ceremony.

Arriving late, I found the courtroom full. In fact, the overflow courtroom with the closed circuit television was also full. Fortunately, the late arrival meant I only had to wait for one person to finish writing in the commemorative book, and I could slip in the back of the main courtroom and find a spot to watch the proceedings without getting in the way.

Stanley has always believed in goal-setting, determination, visualization, success, life balance; all these essential things. And he has always wanted to be a judge. So today, he is. I enjoyed especially watching his peers in the courtroom -- sitting in the jury box. Of course Stanley will now have to navigate new realities. He will not be able to speak as freely as he has in the media (he became something of a Canadian celebrity on bankruptcy law), and he will have to broaden his skills from commercial law to judging criminal files and family court cases. (I also expect as the newest judge in the courtroom, he will receive many of the less-than-wonderful assignments.)

Following his appointment, visitors were invited to the courthouse atrium for a reception, where of course I saw many mutual friends. Then my cellphone rang again. One of the candidates for the new sales position reported on his progress, and I had the opportunity to clarify some issues regarding his references. Time to get home, for dinner and family.

This is the part of the day I like the best -- when Eric greets me and I can see Vivian again. We watched a hockey game on TV, I helped out on chores, and then went to bed (waking up in the middle of the night to write this blog entry).

There's a huge backlog of work to do/business/stuff this morning when I wake up again, but I'm happy yesterday that I combined the work with exercise and time with my family. And, in observing both Nicki Joy and Stanley Kershman, I saw how success and achievement are best achieved and balanced with a healthy dose of achievement, humility, and assertiveness. Yes, I was late and allowed my cell phone to interrupt. But I kept the balance.

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