On the eve of his retirement from Industry Canada, Brian Johnstone sent me a thoughtful and reflective e-mail. With his permission, I am sharing a portion of it that draws the critical connection between personal and professional success.

“Jim, your articles continue to provide focus and inspiration for me. I’m preparing to retire and this gives me the opportunity to look back on a 34-year career in the Canadian Public Service. As I reflect on the events of past years, I can see the linkages between how we live our lives and how we run our businesses, something that escapes many people. The lessons on visioning, planning, doing and evaluation are applicable in both cases and contribute to our success or failure, happiness or despair.

I refer to your articles frequently in a column I write for an internal newsletter. The recurring theme of taking charge, taking responsibility, knowing what you want and planning how to get there have a place in the corporate board room as well as the personal career planning for each and every staff member. For some, this is a huge cultural shift, for others, it’s business as usual.
The personal-professional connection is one that more people are making. It’s about time. We are whole beings. We need to bring our entire selves to all parts of our lives. We lead from the inside out.”

Leadership workshop participants constantly tell me that one of the major benefits they take away from our time together is how the timeless leadership principles we cover overlap with both their personal and professional lives. Trying to apply these principles in just one area of our life is like trying to have a no peeing section in a swimming pool. We can’t separate what is invisible and interrelated.