Do you have sufficient Margin in your life?

Over 25 years ago I was the head of Human Resources for a consulting engineering firm here in the greater Nashville area. One of the senior partners in the firm came into my office one day and shared a notebook with me that was entitled Margin. At that time I was in my early 40’s and didn’t give much thought to margin in my life. I was going full-bore most of the time and life was great.
Today things are somewhat different and the concept of margin has taken a new meaning in my life. Let me share a little more about margin and how I am successfully, (sometimes) establishing better margin in my life.

Let’s look back again at the time I first thought about Margin. It was about 25 years ago and I had just turned 40. My wife and I had two sons who were 11 and 9 and I was immersed in a successful career. I had all of the time in the world, or so I thought, so I often said yes and rarely said no. Fast forward to today and I will soon turn the golden age of 65 come June. My health is still very good and my activity level, and work level, are both pretty high. If you ask my wife she would comment that my work level is too high, but we will come back to that.

I often thought of Margin when it came to writing or typing a paper. I would have a margin on the sides, top, and bottom in order to provide a border for what I was presenting and to also allow for comments or amendments to what was between the borders. Margin in life, at least for me, is very similar. I see the side borders being more about my work and personal activity and I need to provide sufficient time for flexibility to add things as they come along. The top border for me is more about my spiritual or faith growth and that border is often smaller than it ought to be. I am consciously now working to expand that top border to ensure that the spiritual and faith attributes are adequately addressed before I get to the personal/professional and the bottom board, which for me is more about my family and friends. Just like the roots of a tree or the foundation of a building, the base needs to be solid to support the rest of the structure. I also see that the base and the top are strongly connected and I cannot adjust one without affecting the other. The same goes for changing any other margin or border. Once I change one it affects the other three.

I’ll be back in a future post to talk more about the methods I use to establish my Margin and how I determine when one margin is too small because my margins are rarely too big. I just have too many interests and too much energy at this point to let the margins grow too big.

How large are your margins?

Which margin is the largest/smallest for you: spiritual/faith, personal/professional, or family/friends?

I’ll be back next week to discuss more.