Recently, a friend asked me to write on time management and work/life balance; I didn’t feel qualified enough to tackle such a subject given how my life turned out this year. Reflecting on the request, I remembered another good friend: Peter Cunliffe. I met Peter 14 years ago at an international publishing conference that was taking place at the High Leigh Conference Centre in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, north of London. I had just resigned from my job to start a graphic design and production company.
My first encounter with Peter was during a one-on-one personal consultation session in which I sought his advice on financial planning. The half-hour session was to lead to an enriching mentoring relationship that has helped me grow at both individual and professional levels. Having started a new business only a few months earlier, I was aware that I needed to hone my skills on financial literacy and planning, and Peter took me on a journey that has helped me steer the business in the good and sometimes rough times.
Since that first meeting, Peter was gracious enough to visit Kenya every two or three years for two-week periods of intense training and planning involving me and others on my staff. The coaching sessions would continue through email correspondence and at different locations around the world whenever we met at book events.
A few years ago, Peter arranged for me to make a one-week visit to Editora Mundo Cristão in Sao Paolo, Brazil – a highly successful Christian publishing firm that he founded about 50 years ago. The visit remains a key milestone in my publishing career. During my time at Mundo Cristão, I spent each day with a different member of the management team in their respective department. The goal was to learn from their rigorous planning processes and from their brilliant execution on strategy. This company has achieved extraordinary results consistently over the years.
My visit to Mundo Cristão was not only significant owing to the unique learning experience, it also expanded my community of friends whose commitment to personal and professional excellence reflected the values Peter has taught me through his life. Being a choleric who can easily get married to their work, Peter would always remind me that life is not one-dimensional. He would say that it is possible for people to find harmony and synergy among their different roles and dimensions. Peter’s life, and indeed that of his mentees, some whom I know, is a living example of a balanced, holistic, value-based, principled approach to life.
We achieve personal excellence when we find a wiser, better way to live our lives, pursue our careers, develop meaningful relationships, and contribute to society. Anyone who would find this a noble and worthwhile purpose can work at fulfilling it. Its a choice we have to make. And nothing could be more invigorating.