executive life

The Sleepless Nights of a Non-Conformist

(Wordcount: 388) I've got the most comfortable bed I've ever owned, but even on those cold, rainy, Friday nights, it fails to provide me the welcoming warmth I used to rush home to as a teenager living at home. I suppose it turned for the worse soon after I returned from my last vacation. My first in 6 years, I went partly because my family deserved it, partly because I hadn't gone in so long, and partly to celebrate completion of my largest client engagement ever. I had resisted indulging until I felt my business was larger and more stable, but there's only so long even a non-conformist can resist. So we go, spend thousands, but sleep like babies. On returning, I had no way of foreseeing the dearth of substantial business (and in fact, my optimism for the year skewed my practical side). The more time passed, the more crushing the debt became. The more crushing the debt got, the more I started recognizing my true place in society - I'm just a wallet that everyone wants to dip into. I naturally accept responsibilities for all my actions, but I often wonder if a 2 week vacation in paradise is worth a year's worth of distress in purgatory. The irony is that the more I recognize my place in society, the more committed I become to the path I've chosen. I keep telling myself all the lines you've read about the life of pioneers, visionaries, etc. I keep hoping that I won't cut my ear off, or that maybe, just maybe, I'm actually the heir of a rich family legacy (with an emphasis on the rich) which I'll be able to exploit. But even my determination to stay the course and focus on the future can't prevent my mind from feeling the futility of working for nothing. The only reward I get is my own confidence, but even that is a paper-thin veil without benefiting from the feeling of security that can only come from money in this society. I know it's just a want, not a need, but how much of this existence can I take and expose my family too before their wants turn into needs and I'm forced to relinquish my principles and conform? 1,855 days… 1,856 days… 1,857 days… and counting without a good night's rest.

Al Berrios is Managing Director of al berrios & co., an innovative strategy consulting firm advising leaders on the impact of human behavior on their strategies and on how to change their organizations to address the behavior. Write to Consumer Strategies Report at editor@alberrios.com.

(c) 2005. al berrios & company, inc.