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How My First Business Trip Taught Me about the Integrated Life

1024 576 David DeWolf

Living the integrated life isn’t always easy. I’ll never forget the first business trip I ever took.

I was fresh out of school and fresh out of living quite a protected life. My first job was as a consultant. Within a couple of weeks of starting, I was on the road headed to San Francisco to do consulting work.

On the first night of the trip, a group of us headed out to dinner. Being naive, I had no idea what was about to happen. I’ll never forget when I realized on the way to the restaurant that these men were intending to go to a strip club for dinner.

Needless to say, as an engaged Catholic man who believed that that was not the right way to live, I jumped out of the taxi and headed back to the hotel, trying to figure out what to do for dinner and how to handle the situation.

It was quite awkward, and it was a situation I wasn’t prepared for.

This is what set me on the path of motivating myself to make sure I had strong relationships with others to support me and hold me up. This set me on the path for being intentional about living an integrated life.

Just because you’re on the road and away from your family doesn’t mean you’re not a husband or father. Just because you’re at work doesn’t mean that you’re not a dad. Just because you’re at home with your family doesn’t mean you don’t have responsibilities at work.

What I’ve found over and over in my career is that there’s this mentality that we have to balance our work and our life, that they are somehow in conflict and that, to put them in proper balance, we have to bifurcate ourselves.

I’ve found that living a healthy life means integrating all aspects of my life. I’m a much better husband when I remember that I’m a husband all the time. I’m a much better professional when my job is in my mind all the time. I’m a much better husband and father when being a parent is on the top of my mind all the time.

Sure, there are points in time when I need to focus on the task at hand, but I don’t chop one part of myself off simply because I have a task to do in another area of my life.

I am who I am. I’m a husband when I’m traveling. I’m a father when I’m at work. I’m a CEO when I’m at a kid’s activity.

Living the integrated life is what makes healthy individuals. It’s what makes us live up to who we are called to be.