Choose Your Own World View. Pick One.

Sometime around the middle of last week I published the following quote from Walt Disney:

A man should never neglect his family for business

Somebody who read that quote followed up by asking me:

Yes, it’s possible, but you need to apply common sense too, no?

That comment started me thinking. And I ended up drawing the diagram here and wondering whether there aren’t two competing worlds we live in or choose between.

I posed the three factors you can see in the diagram:

  1. The people you care about
  2. Work you like
  3. Business success

And that led me to a the key question: Do the three factors pull away from the center, and away from each other; or do they push towards the center, and work better together.

So which of these is your world?

1. The Glass Half Empty

If all three of these main factors here pull you away from the others, you live in a sad world. In that case,  time with people you care about takes you away from business. And work you like makes you less successful. The underlying world view is full of hard roads, long work weeks, managing by criticizing and threats, racing rats racing, and climbing corporate ladders. In this world, nice guys finish last.

  • The more attention you give to people you care about, the less you have work you like and business success.
  • The more attention given to work you like, the less of you is available for your people, and the less business success.
  • The more attention focused on business success, the less you can give to people you care about and the work you like.

2. The Glass Half Full

On the other hand, what if you live in a world in which all three factors pull towards the center?  Focus on work you like, and you do more, achieve more, become more successful, all of which makes you happy and giving more of yourself to the people you care about.

Is that your world?

The easiest argument to make is that business success and work that you like go together. Do what you love, love what you do, be more likely to succeed. Building a business around doing what you love is hardly a novel idea.

It’s harder to argue that focusing on people you care about (you could call that family if you like, but it’s not necessary) generates work you like and business success. I think this is where we have to bring in the compromise, just as my friend suggested above. Find ways to compromise to maintain balance between work and the rest of life.


Is either one of these worlds real? They both are. It’s up to you.

(Photo credit: PeterPolak/Shutterstock) (Drawing/diagram is my own)


  • Choice_Creates_Awareness says:

    […] successful. Tim Berry of Planning Start Ups Stories  wrote a thought provoking post called Choose Your Own World View. Pick One about juggling business success, work you like and the people you care about. They all come together […]

  • Success vs. doing what you like vs. people vs. community. says:

    […] I miss something critical here? The chart at right is from my Choose your own world view post on here Tuesday. I was trying to relate choices to results and highlight tradeoffs; but I […]

  • Audrey Wyatt says:

    Love the diagram. It certainly is a struggle to keep all three pushing towards the center. I think real success is when one area does not come at the expense of the other. The best place to start is with the people you care about. The mere fact that you care indicates that they get focused attention. Then, they encourage you to do what you love which can ultimately lead to business success. The center overlap is called, “the sweet spot”!

  • Paul says:

    great entry. I feel it will always be the constant battle to balance the factors to a happy fulfilled life. The constant search for systems to make life easy and the need to balance the family and the business expectations is always on going. If you don’t have a plan some one will fill the time to fit their needs. As always great article. Bottom line is business needs a plan and so does your life

  • Strategic Growth Advisors says:

    Tim, I think that both of these worlds are real and it’s up to us which of the two we will be living in.

    In my own point of view, I believe that the factors you have provided in your key question all push towards the center. They are essential components of a system that doesn’t function if one is absent. Function temporarily, yes, but in the long-term sense? Definitely, no.

    Think about it, take one out and you’re sure headed to failure one way or another.

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