Choosing Between Two Communities: A Dilemma of the Heart, Brain, and Body

Sometimes your heart tells you to be in two places at once, and your brain and body tell the heart – that's just not possible; you have to choose.

I found myself in this dilemma with a strong desire to relish the company of two of my favourite communities – the New Zealand Diving Community and the Global Thought Leaders Community this past weekend.

Every four months, the Thought Leaders Business School unites for inspiration and motivation at 3-day immersion experiences that are extraordinary and very hard to describe but play a huge role in how I lead my coaching and mentoring practice.

It just so happened that May 2023 immersion overlapped for 2 ½ days with the North Island Diving Championships, hosted this year in Wellington with 70 athletes from across New Zealand and one guest from Australia.

While immersion is always important, my #1 value is family, and with my sons Cameron (19) and Ross (14) competing in 8 events over the weekend, it became an easy decision. One-third of my purpose, ‘To love and support Cameron and Ross unconditionally,’ clinched the deal. Fiona would have said, “That’s not even a decision!”

Cameron and Tino’s Gold Performance

Balancing Family and Business

Thankfully, I could attend the first two immersion sessions live on Thursday morning and afternoon, with unbelievable inspiration from Lisa O’Neill (CEO of Thought Leaders), who offered an invitation to think bigger about our lives and practices. Cam and Col Fink also led a session of celebration, where some amazing milestones of achievement, productivity, and success, including Monique and Josie, became the community’s latest two Black Belts ($720K per year in income). Chad Littlefield also offered an amazingly inviting and accessible experience with Artificial Intelligence and fantastic connection at its heart.


Buoyed by these early sessions and the fact that all subsequent sessions were recorded to be watched and savoured later, I committed to being with my boys and the New Zealand Diving Community for the rest of the weekend. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Weekend Highlights

Over the course of an amazing weekend of diving, I had the opportunity to:

  • Judge 12 events, including the Men’s and Women’s Open Platform, included divers performing front, back, inward, and reverse 3 ½ somersaults (crazy to watch and judge, even crazier to execute!) 
  • Referee 4 events which I am still new to and involve being responsible for the smooth running of an event, including the application of all diving rules as appropriate – (important to note: other than the synchronized events, which require a large number of judges, I did not judge or referee any of my sons’ events)
  • Be entertained by some magical diving from across the New Zealand/Australian diving community.
  • Witness the fantastic teamwork of the Wellington Diving Committee as hosts of the North Island Diving Championships and the engagement and support of coaches, judges, athletes, and parents from all across the country.
  • Experience unbelievable pride in Cameron, who won his 1-meter event, placed 3rd in his 3-meter event, won the Men’s Open Synchro event with partner Tino, judged several events himself, and coached much younger athletes in their events.
  • Become speechless when Ross won his 1-meter event, won his platform event, won his 3-meter event, won his Boys 14-15 Synchro event with Josh, and won his Mixed Synchro event with Carmen!!

Reflections on Balancing Family and Business

Had I committed to Thought Leaders for the weekend, none of the experiences above would have become a reality, and yet there is an opportunity cost of having missed this month’s immersion. While I can watch all recorded sessions on video, I cannot win back the invaluable networking time that features so prominently in the immersion experience. Thankfully, I have August and November immersions to look forward to and Thought Leaders Conference in Fiji in October, none of which conflict with any important events in my family’s lives.

I am struck by the richness of having too many great options and wonderful communities to fill the future. We can lead small lives with few connections and remain disengaged from communities for fear of overcommitting ourselves. Or we can expand to include ALL the communities we love and cherish, lean in wholeheartedly and contribute as much as we can within the limits of our resources and resourcefulness. I am so grateful to belong to these two communities, which are incredibly generous, supportive, and full of opportunities to learn and grow.

I look forward to a great future with both of them.


About the author

Christopher Miller

Christopher Miller

I am passionate about helping and inspiring small business owners to create their purpose, live their values and experience success, happiness and fulfilment by owning a business they can be proud of.
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