This is Power

Rich is how much you get to see your kids, we said recently. We were redefining wealth away from material items and salary—although these things are nice as far as they go—and towards a thing that pretty much everyone wishes they had more of: time with the people you love most.

Is it really a rich life if you are missing out on something so priceless?

Perhaps it’s worth also taking a minute to do some similar considerations about power. There are the obvious trappings of power: The corner office. The gatekeepers. The influence you have over world events or an audience. The presidency. The title.

But how many of these powerful people are at the mercy of their busy schedule? How much of their time is their own? We talked a while back about the one time Jimmy Carter lost his temper at his chief of staff—it was over learning that they had bumped an activity with his daughter for some meeting. There you have the most powerful man in the world finding out he was impotent to connect with his own family! And that’s a guy who was loved by and cared about his family. How many powerful men and women, because of the decisions they’ve made, the ambition they’ve been consumed by, command no respect at home at all? Have no relationship to speak of with their own kids? How sad and weak is that?

So yes, it’s great that you’ve climbed the corporate ladder. It’s great you’ve been elected to high office. It’s great that you’re in demand, that you’re worth a lot of money. But if you never see your family, if work is always pulling you away from that family, then you are poor and you are not as powerful as you think you are.

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