How Do Career Goals Fit Into My Life?

When do I have fun?

Question of the Week:


I have been listening to you for a few months now and would like to get your advice or opinion on the following. You talk about the 5 Fs in life. Family, Faith, Fitness, Finance, Friends. Side note…I have always heard it as 6Fs that includes fun and you have to have fun and enjoy life.

So I have set up goals in my life in each of these categories and then an action plan in 90-day buckets to work on improving and achieving these goals. My question is where career goals fit into the 5 Fs? I have goals for taking on more responsibilities in my job and being able to support and provide more value for the company and teach and empower my co-workers.

~ Bob

Dear Bob,

If we can tackle your side note first, we are obliged to let you know that fun is not a category in itself. We want to make it as clear as possible that if you think ‘fun’ belongs as an additional sixth “F” then you do not understand this transformative matrix. In fact, we think that you are probably trying to have fun by deliberately rattling our cage. It should be clear because a moment’s reflection will reveal that every day of your life you can deliberately take an action that will directly improve the state of your finances, your friendships, your faith, your fitness, and your family. However, fun can be elusive. If I want to enhance my friendships, I would know exactly what to do. Likewise with each of the other four Fs. But what on earth do I do if I want to have fun? Would it even be an action that improves my life? As a matter of fact, you will discover that fun is a fairly difficult word to define. Not surprisingly dictionaries attempt to do so by using words like ‘amuse’, ‘entertain’, and ‘play’. Not surprisingly, in the Lord’s language, Hebrew, there is no such word as fun. It simply doesn’t exist because it is an illusion.

However, if you mean happiness, that will result quite naturally from the process of moving all the key five parts of your life into place. Without going into a long semantic quibble, more accurately, we would like to impart this timeless truth: If your family, finances, faith, friendships and fitness are in shape, you are lined up for joy. Joy and happiness are deep-seated emotions while fun is a fleeting sensation.

Here’s an indicator that is every bit as reliable as green mold announcing that an orange has passed its expiration date: Having an overabundance of fun usually leaves one feeling a little empty and unfulfilled. Engaging in an activity that produces joy and happiness leaves us walking on air for hours afterwards.

Now, Bob, to your main question, where do career goals fit into the 5Fs? Let us offer an example: One might ask, where does endurance running fit into the 5Fs or where do dinner parties fit into the 5Fs? Answer: Endurance running is clearly part of “Fitness” and dinner parties are clearly part of “Friends” and “Family.” However, seen correctly (as explained and diagrammed in our free eBook, The Holistic You), running and dinner parties overflow into the other areas of life as well.

Career goals are a part of “Finance” but because all five Fs are closely interlinked, there will be ripples of career goals in each of the other four Fs too.

Allow us to explain: When you wrote to us saying that your goals include taking on more responsibilities in your job and being able to support and provide more value for the company and teach and empower your co-workers, you are confusing goals with strategies and tactics. One of your five goals should be improving your finances. One of the strategies to accomplish this is to improve your usefulness to the company that employs you. The three tactics you have determined that will accomplish this are (i) Taking on more responsibilities, (ii) Providing more value to the company, (iii) Teaching and empowering your coworkers. (Note: We are not herein necessarily endorsing either your strategy or your tactics. That would be a much bigger conversation. Here we are answering only the question you asked.)

Naturally, the extent to which you can successfully direct your efforts into the F of your Finances, whether that means your career alone or whether it means also starting a second income stream, is heavily dependent upon your Fitness, your Friends, your Family and your Faith.

If God granted you unique abilities that you can use to serve others, then teaching and empowering your co-workers is a way of serving God’s other children and aligns with your faith. If advancing your career adds to your bottom line, then not only will your finances do well but you will be better able both to serve and to find time for your family and friends. The trick is not seeing “career goals” as separate from the other parts of your life, but rather as part of the vast, integrated, glorious landscape of your life.

Finally, we are not clear whether you mean you have planned five 90-day buckets for all your 5Fs. If by this you mean that you will spend 3 months on Family, and then 3 months on Finance, and then the next 3 months on Fitness, and so on, we explicitly and unequivocally caution you that this is wrong and will guarantee failure. This is not what the 5F program teaches. You need to make progress on each of the 5Fs every single day and you need to measure it weekly. It goes without saying that neglecting, shall we say, Family, while you spend 90 days focusing only upon Fitness is unthinkable.

Bob, we encourage you to find mentors and associates with whom to discuss your ideas. Articulating your thoughts will help you develop them and getting feedback will help you refine them. And don’t worry, if you are making the most of your talents, you will undoubtedly have fun along the way.

Onwards and upwards,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

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