February 2007

President's notes

In pursuit of balance

By F. Pelletier

I recently participated in a forum group comprised of business executives in the Montreal area. The topic of the forum was developing attentiveness and achieving life balance. The topic was appropriate, as it is getting more and more difficult to manage the demands on our time.

Prior to the session, we had been given reading material that included an article reprinted from the January Harvard Business Review called “Overloaded Circuits - why smart people under-perform.” This article introduced us to the term ADT (attention deficit trait) caused by brain overload, often found in overworked managers. ADT is brought on by the demands on our time and attention that have exploded over the last 20 years. The ADT sufferer, who faces a tidal wave of tasks, becomes increasingly hurried, blunt, arrogant, and unfocused, while pretending that everything is fine.

During the forum, we were asked to reflect on what balance meant for each of us, what we wanted more of and less of in our lives; what we needed to simplify or intensify; what skills, knowledge, learning, or change in limiting beliefs would help us progress towards achievement of greater balance; what we needed to choose to integrate, sacrifice, or let go to achieve desired balance; and finally, what practices, tips, and tools we could integrate into our daily lives to help us to centre ourselves and achieve greater balance.

We then individually went through a holistic balance exercise, starting with identifying activities that we participated in that were good for the body, mind, heart, and spirit. We individually identified the percentage of time and attention going into the four categories, identified how beneficial these activities were, and finally, what we would change if we could.

We then redid the exercise, identifying what would be the ideal for each of us, what needed to be done to get there, as well as the challenges faced in achieving ideal balance. Once done, we were provided with coaching tools to help us move towards the desired balance.

As we went through the exercises, we exchanged in large and small groups. It was no surprise to anyone that we had all experienced some degree of ADT in the last few years and knew people who were currently experiencing it.

I came out of the forum feeling better about myself, given that I am now better prepared to tackle further ADT attacks. Because many of us are exposed to this syndrome, I thought it appropriate to share this experience with you.

François Pelletier, CIM President

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