In his book ‘The One Thing’ Gary Keller mentions that a BALANCED life is a myth and I think that we all really know this instinctually. But there is a still, small voice that keeps calling us to be balanced- to make sure we are not spending too much time at the office or too much leisure time (yes- that’s a thing). Being ‘balanced’ has a nice- even ring to it- ‘I am so balanced’ (if you stand there for a minute and just close your eyes and repeat that statement you will see that it even FEELS good to say it!) Now open your eyes and let’s have a REALISTIC chat about this so-called ‘balanced life’.
The truth of the matter is that any career path (business owner or not) comes with times and moments when you simply HAVE to be out of balance. It takes extra effort and lots of extra time to go after your goals and dreams and this is not something limited to business ownership. Being ‘out of balance’ lets us make the required deposits to turn our dreams into reality. Oh sure, you have the occasional person who puts in the 9-5 effort and is somehow rewarded with gargantuan success but that is the exception. The rule is that you ‘GET OUT’ of life what you put in! Getting out of balance can return some amazing dividends.
That thought process is also true of your personal life so here is where the confusion comes in. How in the world am I supposed to give 100% at work:
- working late
- thinking all the time
……and still, find the time to give 100% at home:
- meals together
- attending childhood events
- just hanging out
If it were an easy fix, then being ‘balanced’ would be enough! 12 hours for work & 12 hours for family Even after reading this article, my guess is you will still need some work or other advice to find your right answer, but here are a few things you might want to try implementing to get the MOST (not balance) out of both of these very important areas of your life!
Wherever you are BE THERE! I was sitting on the couch with my husband (working) when he had the audacity to say he thought I was a workaholic. GET OUT! I mean – get the work out of your home and vice versa if needed. When you are at work- be at work and do what you can to keep personal things from meandering into your workspace. Likewise, when you are home, leave work at the office. In my case- I have to leave my computer locked in the vehicle.
Clearly Communicate! Discuss work and personal needs as a family. When you talk things through and make sure you all know what is important, you can be more effective at being sure you are where you need to be! For example, a member of my team has a daughter in gymnastics- she is AMAZING! While she was competing, there were times when attending those conferences was MISSION CRITICAL. Some of the weekly practices were not as important for our team members to attend so their family worked together to strike a ‘balance’ and make sure that the needs of the family were met. I recall a time when we were programming over 100 terminals for a large new client and the time frame was such that it required a TON of time to meet the deadline. Dean and I took turns working and taking care of Tyler and his school needs at the time- we were out of balance for a while- and got back into balance as quickly as possible. Communication was the key to making sure we did not leave anything (personal or professional) undone.
Remember What You Want! Whether it is business or personal, knowing WHY you might make the decision to GET OUT of balance one way or the other, will help you make the right decisions. If you are like me, and you just grew up in a ‘work all the time’ family- you might be in a habit and that habit may cost you way more than you are willing to pay personally. On the other hand, if your family has goals and dreams (like we all do), you might find that some intentional and well planned time of being out of balance can serve your family well. Knowing what you want and keeping your life’s vision in front of you will help you to make the decisions that have you both IN and OUT of balance.
BONUS MATERIAL: If you do own a business, you might also consider including your family from time to time! When everyone feels as if they have a part to play (when our son Tyler was little he would staple presentation material together for us), it feels more like a team effort and it is less likely that you will fall so out of balance that you can’t find your way back to the center.
Most of us have life balance challenges to deal with every day. Being fully present wherever you are, making sure you are discussing what is important and keeping your life’s goals front and center may not help you stay in balance- but they will help you GET OUT of life- all the things you are looking for!