Right People, Right Place, Right Time: The Holy Trinity of Life

For the last few years, I have had the concept of “Right People, Right Place, Right Time” running through my mind. The general idea is that we should each seek out the feeling that we are with the Right People, in the Right Place, and at the Right Time. It is a concept that applies in both personal and professional contexts of life and is a recipe for peace.

So what do I mean by these concepts? Well, I am glad you asked.

Right People

  • Constructive relationships

When I am around the Right People, it is a constructive experience. I notice this particularly as I leave an experience with the Right People. I feel positive and like the world is in a better place.

  • Mutually beneficial

To really fit the description of Right People, both of us have to derive benefit. It cannot just be me, or the other party. It is the developing of a relationship which has to be a two-way street.

  • Consistent

The Right People are not just one and done. The group that is Right People defines an identity that is consistent. Relationships are seasonal, so there is going to be variation between the composition of your group, but it will have people serving the same roles. It is going to be both family & community.

Right Place

  • Geographic location

Not all places are created equal. And it is not just the desirability of Sunny California. Each of us has a place that feels like home. We also have places that do not feel like home but provide some sort of value. I recently listened to an episode of Free Agents (now Focused) with Mike Vardy (#60: Be Strategic About It, with Mike Vardy). His home is currently in British Columbia, but he grew up in Ontario. The move to BC was driven, not by his desire to be there, but by a promise of professional advancement by his employer. It may not have been home when he moved there, but it became home as he embraced it.

  • Accessible

The Right Place needs to be a place that is accessible. Right now, there is a huge attraction for me to three places that I do not live:

  1. Sunny California
  2. The Pacific Northwest
  3. Central New York (childhood home)

Regardless of my desire for those three places, I know that my current home in the flyover states is my Right Place. Infrastructure for my life is unique to this place. Relocation is not an option, so I know this is my Right Place. That could change in the future, but it is true for today.

  • Defined

I know where my Right Place is. Nowhere/everywhere can be the Right Place for a person who is nomadic. Yet even the most nomadic person needs the definition of “The Road”. To be in that in-between space where you do not have a defined place is psychologically distressing.

Right Time

  • Life stage

Again, let us consider the above example of Mike Vardy. He was able to accept that transfer from his employer because he was not yet married, nor did he have significant independent roots in his community. He was in the stage of building his adult life, so he was able to move.

My current life stage has significant roots in my community. I am not yet part of the community, but I am very dependent on the infrastructure of professionals around me.

  • Affordable

The person living on a $75,000 annual salary can scrape by in Manhattan but could live quite comfortably in a flyover state. It cannot be the Right Place if you cannot afford it.

  • Daily schedule

Your schedule must match that of your place. Are you a morning person in a city that lives on nightlife? Do your children have a Monday-Friday school schedule while you work 2nd shift, including regular weekends? These are all questions and scenarios that we consider as we determine whether or not a given circumstance comes at the Right Time.


Look, I know this does not lay out an exact science over how to measure whether your circumstances meet the ideal of “Right People, Right Place, Right Time”. What I find is that this model is primarily instinctual. You know, intuitively whether or not you are in the ideal state of “Right People, Right Place, Right Time”.

I say that when you find all 3, you ride until it is over, seeking to stay in that moment.

When it is just 2 of 3, you are open to change.

When it is 1 of 3, you seek a change.

When it is 0 of 3, you change. Now.

Where are you?

Broken bodies

Often we see people who have broken bodies and judge them incompetent. As though the reason their body is broken stems from some mental or psychological deficiency.

It’s so easy to judge a book by it’s cover and then stop there. Covers are there for a reason, they are designed to give a glimpse of the contents inside. Yet those covers don’t tell the full story.

Stephen Hawking is an obvious example. Thought he had a decades long battle with ALS, he was able to be a leader in theoretical physics and cosmology.

I also want to share another, more personal example.

My brother, Steve, lived 20 years longer than the 2 years doctors anticipated when he was born in 1978. His body was obviously flawed and broken from the day he was born with spina bifida. He then also developed hydrocephalus, cerebral palsy, had a stroke, and a number of other medical complications.

Throughout his 22 years of life, he made friends, touched people’s lives, and taught me much about what it means to love unconditionally. Due to his medical complexity, he did this from the confines of a wheelchair because he was effectively quadriplegic. He also accomplished this despite a vocabulary limited to 5–6 two-word phrases.

His mind was limited by his body’s ability to support his education and by his ability to communicate. Despite all of that, he was able to make you feel special with a look and a smile. His use of, “hi,” was among the warmest and most genuine I’ve experienced in my life.

Even thought my brother was the center of the first 18 years of my life while he was alive, I have just begun (at 36) to realize how often I judge those who walk differently, speak with impediment, or are simply new to my country.

Over the last few months, I have begun conscious effort to listen to them and learn. There is so much beauty and value in the world of those who look differently than our societal ideals. When I focus on the ideals, I lose out on all that others bring to the table.