It is a rare book that deeply effects me on matters of work / life alignment. The late Eugene O’Kelly did this with his book, “Chasing Daylight: How My Forthcoming Death Transformed My Life.” This book is as much about life as it is about dying well.
Especially relevant for leaders, O’Kelly does not go the all-too-common route of, “I should have spent less time at the office.” Instead, he puts work in balance with the rest of his loves. Yes, he loved what he did for a living. He loved his people, teams and peers. That said, he does reflect that a great concentration on work had many impacts on his life.
Most notable to me, was how O’Kelly noted his hard-driving nature may have prevented him from recognizing symptoms sooner. O’Kelly wrote:
“I’d be lucky to get 3 months, even with treatment that worked. My vision was already starting to blur. I wasn’t sure when I had first become symptomatic. Corin and I thought hard about it but couldn’t really come up with earlier signs. Karen, my assistant, pointed out that I had a few headaches in the previous months… but I had never really had headaches before, ever. I was not one of those who had been diagnosed early. Perhaps it was because I had always had my foot to the pedal, never stopping to look up…”
“…The disease had it’s own foot to the pedal, like me, it didn’t know how to slow down.”