Can You Really Have a Work/Life Balance?
Do you really want one? In 2014, Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of PIMCO, chose to leave his post after his 10-year-old daughter wrote about all the special moments he was absent from in her life. The 56-year-old El-Erian, who made $100 million in 2011 alone, said he made the decision to resign from his post after his young daughter wrote him a note listing 22 milestones he had missed in her life.
You might tell yourself that once you make the kind of money Mr. El-Erian does you will slow down too. But it’s not likely that you would choose to slow down even after making his millions. Some people don’t know how to really enjoy life, or are so fueled by the power and prestige, that everything else is easily pushed aside in the process.
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression that we have two lives; the one we are given and the other one we make. Only YOU can say what type of life you want to have. Recently, our Renaissance Executive Forum Members tackled the topic of having a real Work/Life Balance, so I’ll share some of the key aspects we looked at in hopes that you too can make a decision of what really matters to you.
Before we could tackle this concept, we first asked Paul Brough of Fulltential to come address how FEAR can keep us from letting go and letting others step up to take over things we’ve held onto for too long. Paul helps people move out of the restrictions of their Comfort Zone and into the real potential they have – their “Fulltential.”
Perhaps you say “I can’t let others do this” or “I worry that if I’m not at work things will fall apart.” However, if you’ve clearly communicated your expectations, provided the needed resources to do the job, trained and held them accountable, you should be able to let go. Seeing things as a problem of FEAR can help you release them and find more time for the other things you want to pursue.
The problem is not a lack of Discipline or Organization, or even that people demand too much of your time. The problem is that there is not enough time to get everything done that YOU are convinced needs to get done. To shine the light on this issue, we read the book by Andy Stanley entitled Choosing to Cheat – Who Wins When Family and Work Collide. The main point of this book was that we either cheat family or work when we decide how to spend our time.
The reality is that no one ever laid on their death-bed and asked to work more. Too often however, we do regret having missed out on the time with those we love the most, in exchange for time at work.
I’m not telling you to work less. I’m challenging you to be intentional at investing time between growing your business and enjoying the life, family, friends, that GOD has given you. Saying that your family is a priority and that you love them is not the same as living it out. As you trade time with them for increased results at work, they do not FEEL the love you speak of, they feel rejected. You are the only one who can change this.
Andy Stanley’s book stated that we all need to decide what are the “Non-Negotiables” in our lives that we will protect – even fight for. I have a great wife and two wonderful children. They are worth the time it takes to keep our relationship strong, and I’ve never regretted the time I’ve spent with them. Determine what your life should look like, then set boundaries and guidelines that protect the time with what really matters most.
Upon reading the letter his daughter gave him about all the events in her life he had missed, Mr. El-Erin said, “I felt awful and got defensive: I had a good excuse for each missed event! Travel, important meetings, an urgent phone call, sudden to-do,” he said. “But it dawned on me that I was missing an infinitely more important point … I was not making nearly enough time for her.”
Mr. El-Erin chose wisely. He was not popular for his decision, and it caused PIMCO to make major changes in their company. But He knew what mattered most and was willing to walk away from Millions to put his life back in balance. Are you?
30 day Trial
Try it for 30 days. Envision what you want life to be like, set non-negotiables, tell those around you what you are doing so they can support it (or at least put up with it), and then try it for 30 days. It’s only one month out of your life. See if the people and things that give you joy see the change and how it feels to be a priority in your life. See that things at work actually survived without you. (Which by the way is a great value when you someday decide to sell your business.)
One of the benefits of our Top Executive Peer Groups is the Accountability we provide each other through our monthly meetings. We share our passions and our goals, and then allow others to challenge, motivate and encourage us to stay the course. We all need a place where we can share our frustrations with others who know what it means to be the final decision maker. Our group of Type-A leaders has no problem giving each other a loving kick in the pants when we need it.
Hopefully this has resonated with you and you will evaluate how you are spending the precious days GOD has given you on this earth. The choice is yours and it can start today. If your balance needs some adjusting or you want me to come lead your team through a Work/Life Balance discussion, let’s talk about it. Contact me at RobertH@REFDallas.com or call me at (469) 269 – 5148.
ABOUT ROBERT HUNT
I am a Forum Leader and Business Partner for Renaissance Executive Forums Dallas. My role is to find the best members for our CEO Peer Groups, then lead each meeting so that our members become Raving Fans. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.