I LOVE CHAMBER WORK. It is and has been a great career; but let’s be honest; this business can have many pitfalls.
While chamber work can be hugely rewarding, it also can be demanding, all-encompassing, and if you let it, maybe even addicting to the point that, unfortunately, for MANY, it’s VERY tough to balance your business (chamber) with your personal life.
It’s been said that chamber CEOs could work 24 or 48 straight hours and still would never be caught up. The next day would be just as busy, demanding and time-consuming. The work is NEVER done.
Part of the addictive quality of being a chamber CEO is you are “in the know.” You are a community insider. You have position power. You can open doors. Your phone calls get returned a lot quicker than others. Let’s face it, you ARE one of the “cool kids” in town.
When you combine this position power with all the work that needs to be done, it’s easy to see how, if you don’t have your act together, things could go terribly wrong with your personal life.
A skill that chamber execs need to quickly master is being able to shut it down and walk away from work without feeling guilty. Give yourself permission to NOT be so absorbed in your work that you miss the things that REALLY matter—anniversaries, birthdays, school plays, ball games, grandkids and other important memorable moments.
There will always be another meeting.
You need to make sure that you are present for important family functions—MANY happen only once and years later you will regret not being there.
It’s absolutely true… “Nobody on their deathbed wishes they’d spent more time at the office.”
Control Your Calendar
One of the keys to being a successful chamber CEO is getting control of your calendar.
Author and business consultant Tom Peters emphasizes this point: “Your calendar NEVER lies. All we have is our time. The way we spend our time is our priorities, is our strategy. Your calendar knows what you really care about. Do you?”
Make sure you don’t miss the “important” by getting so wrapped up in things that seem to be “urgent.”
Dave Kilby is president and CEO of W.A.C. E. and executive vice president, corporate affairs, at the California Chamber.