Book Club: Life On the Wire — Growing, Helping and Having Fun

I recently watched an episode of the TV show America’s Got Talent when a hand balancer performed. He continually balanced his entire body on his hands and moved fluidly throughout the performance. It took my breath away as he appeared to move in gravity-defying ways. It also reminded me of purposeful imbalance.

At times the hand balancer extended a part of his body as far as it could reach. A big move. To compensate, he would make other extensions and movements with the rest of his body. At any given time he did more with some parts of his body and moved others to compensate. Then a moment later, different parts would be dominant with the rest compensating so he could remain balanced.

It was not a static performance. It was dynamic. That is what made the performance mesmerizing and fulfilling.

Don’t you want a life that is mesmerizing and fulfilling? It would sure beat boredom and a life without purpose.

We have already discussed five areas of tension we need to periodically evaluate in our lives to ensure we are doing matches what we need at any given time.

This week we are going to discuss three more tension points.

Week 3 Summary (Tension points 6–8)

Growing Professionally vs. Growing Personally

Typically, a person spends most of his or her time pursuing either professional growth or personal growth. Not both. We need a strategy to pursue success in both areas. We need to be able to influence ourselves and make a living that is consistent with who we are. Doing this will provide growth both professionally and personally. Doing this allows us to start influencing others to make a significant impact.

Helping Yourself vs. Helping Others

To keep from stagnating, we need to constantly feed our mind. This can happen through things like education and new experiences. Helping others allows us to be filling others. Success in significance are both achievable if we are filling ourselves and filling others.

Being financially rich does not make a person significant. The impact on others to find the level of sick that counts. But significant comes at a cost. You will have to give things up to help others. You will also need a community of mentors and mentees in your life to be effective at providing that positive influence for the benefit of others.

Getting Serious vs. Having Fun

Have some fun!

Work shouldn’t be all about professionalism. There needs to be a balance of professionalism and fun. Employees will give loyalty and productivity when fun is in the work equation. Adding some fun helps give our life an appropriate pace with needed margin. Fun needs to be added intentionally and responsibly.

Aha Moments

Things I need to work on, things I want to try, and new ideas come to me as I read great books. The following are some random thoughts that came to mind as I read this section of the book:

  • Although I never experienced the career disappointment as an impetus for change, burnout did the same for me. It caused me to re-ask fundamental questions about my passions, talents/gifts, priorities, and purpose in life. It is the one of the reasons Better without Burnout was created. Even though it doesn’t seem like it at the time, positive change in your life’s direction can be the result of the tragedy.
  • Todd Duncan discussed that suffering and tolerance precede worthy acts. I agree. My strong desire to help others and support charitable organizations didn’t start until after my family was going through some difficult times together. It gave me a heart and perspective for others that didn’t exist at the same magnitude prior to the suffering.
  • I typically view work and fun separately and do them separately. I need to find ways to better integrate fun into what I am doing while working. I know that will help me tremendously.


Now it’s your turn. Read tension points 6–8 of Life on the Wire: Avoid Burnout and Succeed in Work and Life.

What did you learn as you read these chapters? Is there something you don’t agree with? What will you be applying new in your life based on what your learned? Share your thoughts in the comment section by clicking here

Next Week

We will be discussing tension points 9–10 and The Summit chapters next week. Enjoy your reading! I look forward to hearing from you.

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