Getting a Life

By Hannah Wallace January 31, 2007

Great fiction often affects how I think and feel. After 1,100 pages of Shogun, James Clavell's saga of 17th-century Japan, I sensed a real attachment to some core Japanese values: respect, loyalty, honor and compartmentalization. And those that relate to achieving harmony and balance continue to become increasingly important. Wa is the word that embodies harmony, peace and balance. It is wa that today's business executives must attain in order to have successful and satisfying lives.

The growth in the baby boomer population in Sarasota and Manatee is readily apparent. Many of these boomers are leaving successful careers in major urban centers to work here in significant capacities. High achievers are arriving in increasing numbers.

Twenty-first century executives face extraordinary stress. More intense competition, evolving marketplaces, rapidly changing technologies, voluminous communication and ever-challenging goals are constants. There are books, counselors and all kinds of programs that teach us how to deal with the daily pressures of our jobs. Most of them recommend that we find balance in our lives. While working hard, we should play hard, spend quality time with our families and friends, travel, read, meditate, exercise, maintain healthy diets and cultivate hobbies.

What better place to achieve that balance than right here? If businesspeople can dramatically reduce the pressures created by their environment -weather, commute, safety and just the ease of their day-to-day lives -they can inherently reduce their overall stress levels.

Living in and around large cities definitely has its benefits, but one of them is not ease of existence. Creating that needed balance in life can be a hassle. Getting to the golf course, beach, lake, restaurant, movie theater or airport can often be a job.

I eliminated those other stresses from my life nine years ago by moving to Sarasota. It's been a good thing. Dan Miller of MOVO Mobile and 82 Degrees Tech also came here for the lifestyle. He's from Boston originally, but he sold a tech company and has been instrumental in getting WiFi in downtown Sarasota. Another transplant who moved to Venice for the lifestyle is Ned Davis of Ned Davis Research, one of the top financial analysts in the country. Tom Dowdy of National In-Store worked in merchandizing in Ohio and Pennsylvania before coming here for the weather and now has a national company that grosses $41.3 million a year. Carol Green started a bank in Denver, owned Weight Watchers franchises and moved here for the weather, too. Once here, she started First America Bank.

The wa club is a win-win. We provide talented execs with lifestyle and they bring their experience, smarts, creativity and work ethic.

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