Today in the New York Times, one of the most widely shared articles talks about the search for work life balance in Silicon Valley, and the virtues of unplugging from your iPhone, iPad and laptop from time to time, to enrich your life and achieve some balance. The incessant call of technology can distance us from what is real and important, whether you work in Silicon Valley or just have technology so embedded in your life it can be difficult to break away.
That thinking is a FAR FAR cry from the world of Silicon Valley startups I used to inhabit, when I still found it important to duck out for a quick sail or to go horsebackriding. At those unstructured moments, I would often come up with my best ideas. Meanwhile one CEO of mine would boast about how he gamed his email to make it appear that he was on the job at 2 or 3 am. (This was a long time ago so forgive the quaint technology reference!)
My first thought upon reading today’s story was that so many people I know, including me of course, found one solution to this challenge. I just moved someplace so beautiful and interesting that I am forced to have balance every day. I moved to the countryside of Sonoma County!
It’s true–heads up Silicon Valley! Come on up. You can still work from here. ! Many of my clients telecommute. Or we can find you a fabulous retreat for getaway weekends and holidays now, something that might be your full time home one day. So many people I work with on the buying side are doing just that. Coming up most weekends (it is not a long drive to the Bay Area) from SF, or Mountain View, or Oakland. Their plan is to live here full time in one or two or three years.
Some of my clients bought homes here and live out of state. The home of one is a very successful vacation rental that they can only visit a few times a year but it will be a toehold for when they come here full time in a few years. I have other clients looking to do the same thing. One set has a home in France and a home in Healdsburg. Most of them tell me their second home helps them to maintain their sanity.
So OK Silicon Valley leaders, yoga and meditation classes are just fine. There is even a conference, Wisdom 2.0 But if you really want to nourish your soul, spend some quality time in the gorgeous valleys and hillsides of Sonoma County. Take a walk outside first thing in the morning and visit with your horses, or pluck some fresh eggs from the hen house. Stroll through your vineyard. Had an intense conference call. Take a break and prune a rose for ten minutes, then get back to it. Sit back with a glass of wine at the pool overlooking some vineyards and redwoods. Listen to the quiet.
It will refresh, restore and recharge you. And you can still stay plugged in. Just ask some of my happy clients!
(Please note–I do not want to trivialize the concerns expressed in the article–I am glad to see them being discussed. I am just proposing one possible solution!)
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