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How I Keep Up with an Unrelenting Work Pace by Stan McChrystal

How I Keep Up with an Unrelenting Work Pace Stan McChrystal LinkedIn


After dinner I’d read — normally something entirely unrelated to the military or politics — allowing me to point my mind in different directions. One evening it was "Good to Great" by Jim Collins, another it was an account of the construction of the Boulder Dam.

In the morning the process repeated itself.

It sounds like unsustainable madness, an unrelenting pace — and to some extent it was. But everything I chose to do outside my time at work actually made me better at my job. In order to tackle the all-consuming tasks that characterize the big jobs for which most of us worked hard to reach, creating a balanced structure enabled me to push myself hard and maintain the pace. To me, life outside work is about maintaining perspective. And while many things I did outside work contributed to making me more effective at my job, many did it by making me more balanced. 


But throughout my career, a careful combination of strenuous, regular physical activity with some surprisingly broad reading allowed me to carve out a "life outside work." Even when I was deployed for years at a time, I made sure to make time for myself, whether it was listening to audio books as I ran on the tarmac at our base in Balad or typing up an email to Annie every morning. Even while deployed, Annie was a key part of my "balance."  Although physically apart, she was like the outrigger on a boat — providing stability when everything else was tumultuous.

Over the years, my activities and relationships outside of work have given me the strength and mental resilience to push myself as hard as I needed to. To me, that is key to retaining some level of balance, and I still strive to achieve it each and every single day.

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Maintaining perspective. Much like moderation. 

It's funny that he talks about balance while at the same time filling every second of his life with activity.

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