Marshall Goldsmith has done some good things and communicated some great stories, but this vainglorious submission, The Earned Life, is self-serving and glosses over the fact that “No success can compensate for failure in the home.” Super weird that of all the many interviews he commissioned for this documentary, none included his very own children. Far as the film goes, they don't exist.
Bryan and Kelly turned out fine, but the offstage stories Marshall tells about his 'failure to perform' as a father say it all.
He beams with pride about his 11 million miles on American Airlines and another 5-6 million smeared across 3-5 lesser airlines, and I do hope that black frequent flier card inexplicably pacifies him in his twilight years because it's certainly no substitute for being present in the lives of those who mattered most.
High achievement in the eyes of the world? "Absolutely crushing it," as they say? Who freakin' cares, it's nails on a chalkboard to me. He can have it all, whatever 'all' in the eyes of the world is.
In my interactions with him I found him cocky as hell, boastful, one-dimensional, slippery, and about as original and present as a diner jukebox.
"I'm working on a book about women leaders," he crowed as we peeled off for lunch, then offered to interview a half-dozen females nearby to "include in my research." If a 70-something, white, privileged, male author intending to write a book about women leaders is too tone-deaf to hear the problem inherent in doing so (!), then he probably has no business giving advice for a living.
I respect his doggedness, drive, discipline, and Life is good mantra, because the three traits have served him well vocationally and mantras are self-fulfilling prophecies.
My own belief system (Thank God for grace, because if mine was the life I earned, it sure would be a miserable one, sinner that I am!) pushes me in a wholly different direction with nary a scorecard, but Marshall and I are in violent agreement about one ideology, and that's [ironically] Reinhold Neibuhr's Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
With each year that passes, it gets increasingly difficult for us old dogs to learn new tricks, so the likelihood Marshall will change his mind on much of anything is about as likely as he is to ditch his signature green shirts, khaki pants, brown loafers, and Apple watch, so I'll continue on my own blissfully ignorant path and treasure the reality that for all my vocational commitments over the years, they pale in comparison to my familial ones.