In a spirit of full disclosure, I am a Randy Hain fan. As a friend, he has been the source of unfailing encouragement, fellowship, and wisdom. Yet there are many dimensions to the man… Randy is a husband, father, writer, speaker, business leader, and much more. His third book, Something More: The Professional’s Pursuit of a Meaningful Life is packed with insight and practical tips we all need to seek – and find – greater meaning in our professional work.
I was able to catch up with Randy (no small feat, I assure you) to discuss the book, and our discussion follows. Enjoy!
Randy, this new book of yours is written for business professionals. What motivated you to write it?
I wanted this book to address what I have observed my 20+ years of conversations with candidates and business leaders: people are seeking more meaning out of life than simply their work. They often express it in different ways, but ultimately the majority of the people I meet are seeking more balance, more faith, more intellectual stimulation or more community involvement. Sometimes they simply want to make a living doing what they love! “Something More” captures the best of these experiences along with the interviews I conducted with professional men and women around the country on how they are pursuing a more meaningful life.
I sincerely hope that the book will provide a road map to those seeking direction and a way to get started towards a life that is richer and fuller when work is in its proper place.
I like that you are clearly Catholic in the book when you relate your story, but the people you interviewed come from a wide variety of faith backgrounds. Was that intentional?
Absolutely! People who read my first two books know me for my Catholic writing, but in my professional life as the head of a national recruiting firm I deal with people from all faith backgrounds. I wanted the book to be authentic and genuinely express the variety of opinions about faith which exist in the world.
I also had a strong desire to write a professional mainstream book which had a strong faith element woven into it. The workplace is often an alien place for faith to exist, but in the book I encourage people to lead integrated lives and not leave their faith at the door. The book also addresses a host of other topics in addition to faith as I mentioned earlier.
There is a raw and honest feel to the book and the stories of the people you interviewed really rang true. You don’t see many business books like this in today’s world. How do you think the book will be received?
Based on early feedback from several reviewers and conversations I have had with others, I believe the book will be very well received. People are starving for authenticity. They want to identify with people who have lived through the same challenges. The book is honest and deals with real problems people face. I also wrote four very challenging questions for self-reflection at the end of every chapter to encourage the reader to identify the lessons they learned and hopefully assimilate them into their lives.
Authenticity has been a recurring theme in all of your books. As a business person and Catholic author, how does that manifest itself in your daily life?
I appreciate that question and I have thought about the word authenticity a lot over the years. When I finally surrendered to Christ in the fall of 2005 and joined the Catholic Church in 2006, I set aside my old compartmentalized approach to life and work. I began the often difficult process of just being the same person all the time and living as integrated a life as possible with Christ at the center. The older I get the more committed I am to this authentic path and doing what I believe is right. The world fights us at every turn, but this is the path that we are supposed to walk if we wish to attain Heaven. I could certainly use your prayers!
You interviewed some fascinating people in connection with the book. Were there any surprises as you spoke with them, and did any particular stories resonate?
The interviews made the book come alive and what may surprise you is most of the people in the book came into my life or hit my radar in a random fashion. Very few of them were identified to be included before I began the project. I let it unfold naturally and prayed about it a great deal as I looked for people sincerely looking for meaning out of life than simply their work. The result was an honest representation of what I believe most of us experience and think in the course of our lives and the stories will hopefully resonate with everyone.
One of my favorite interviews was with Ellina Feldman in the chapter titled “The Role of Crisis.” This young woman has been through so many challenges in her life and yet she is one of the most determined and joyful people I have ever encountered. We could all learn a lot from her!
One of my favorite parts of the book was your discussion with our friend Andreas Widmer, author of The Pope and the CEO. In the context of your discussion regarding the nature of success, how would you define success in your own life at this point?
I appreciate this question and think about it often. I believe as I get older and more firmly rooted in my Catholic faith, the less I care about the world’s view of success. I place more value in raising my family, the quality of my friendships and the difference I can hopefully make in the community and for the Church. Above it all is my relationship with Christ and making sure He is the center of my life. I would describe a “successful” day as one where I have done my absolute best to serve Christ and His Church, my wife and children are thriving and the people I encountered that day felt I made a positive difference in their lives.
You are one of the busiest guys I know! What other projects are on the horizon after Something More: The Professional’s Pursuit of a Meaningful Life?
Do you mean after my long vacation? I truly love writing and have a few other projects I am considering including a book about being a Catholic dad for 2014 and an eBook project to help people in career transition. After that I will just have to see what else our Lord has in store for me!
Thank you so much, Randy! As a fellow traveler and seeker of a meaningful life, it is a privilege to enthusiastically recommend your book. I expect it will lead many people to strive for greater success, faithfulness – and purpose.