I'm a 46-year-old man with type 1 diabetes. I recently accepted a position at a major accounting firm with considerable high-risk and high-profile deadlines. Any suggestions?
Answers from Edward T. Creagan, M.D.
Congratulations on your new appointment! When you accept a professional advancement with high risks and rewards, it can be challenging to balance your health and time with work demands. This balance is especially important to keep in mind in your situation because you have diabetes. So here are a couple of concepts that may help you.
The future belongs to the fit, the focused and the motivated. If diabetes gets out of control, it can lead to potential consequences such as eye damage, cardiovascular disease, nerve damage and kidney damage. But, if you carefully monitor your diet and physical fitness, and follow food and medical advice, it's less likely that diabetes will be a major issue.
Although not required by law, it's probably a good idea to let your supervisor know that you have a medical condition, and explain that you manage it and take care of yourself.
- Parkinson's law. As your responsibilities mount, this law is crucial. Work expands to fill the allotted time. If you have 90 minutes to prepare a presentation, you'll likely spend 90 minutes preparing the presentation. Set deadlines for yourself, or all of your waking hours will be consumed in preparation.
The Pareto principle. This is the 80-20 rule. For example, 80 percent of the time spent preparing for a proposal is essentially fluff or window dressing, because the first 20 percent of time in preparation can really seal the deal.
Or, if it took 10 hours to prepare a presentation, the first two hours likely provided the bulk of the information and the additional eight hours may have added little information.
Stay in your lane. This is sound advice from the swimming and running community. If you don't look straight ahead, and if you look around or become distracted by your competitors or the crowd, you'll lose your focus, and you likely won't do well.
A case in point: A field goal kicker from a small Midwestern college was called upon for the game winning kick in the Super Bowl. He nailed it, and his team went on to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy. When asked about focus, clutch and grace under pressure, the kicker made the comment that he was surrounded in an envelope of absolute serenity and silence. He heard not one comment from the crowd or from his players until the place screamed with applause.
- Stick to the knitting. The marketplace may not value the generalist. The Renaissance man is a nice topic, but the world may only pay for a narrow, unique expertise. Make yourself indispensible and indisposable. Create that niche — that go-to attitude — that no one feels comfortable tackling.
And always remember the words from the business adviser Peter Drucker: "The best way to predict the future is to create the future." With these tactics in your toolbox, you can indeed create the future of health, peace and prosperity.
Aug. 24, 2017
See more Expert Answers
- Creagan ET (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 26, 2017.
- Papadakis MA, et al., eds. Diabetes mellitus & hypoglycemia. In: Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2017. 56th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2017. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed July 26, 2017.
- Parkinson's Law. Merriam-Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Parkinson's%20Law. Accessed Aug. 2, 2017.
- Pareto principle. Business Dictionary. http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/Pareto-principle.html. Accessed Aug. 2, 2017.
- Cohen WA. Introduction: Peter Drucker and leadership. In: Drucker on Leadership: New Lessons From the Father of Modern Management. San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass; 2010.