Do you work too hard? Do you play too hard? Do you mix Grey Goose and Red Bull because nothing beats two sets of wings?* I’ve heard all my life how we need to have a “balance” in our life. I suppose it is my generation’s (Gen X) reaction to the Baby Boomers that work like dogs but the succeeding generations have realized that there is more to life than work.
The trick is how do you do it. How do you know when you have reached a “balanced” state? The reason most people struggle with this answer, including me in the past, is because we typically work toward a balance that someone else has recommended. In other words, someone else’s idealized image is what you struggle to meet. It is similar to when your doctor who is 50 lbs. overweight tells you that you need to lose some weight.
All of it started for me with a talk by Holly Green, who is the former CEO of The Ken Blanchard Companies. Ken is the author of the One Minute Manager. She simply was asking what does winning look like to your business? I simply extrapolated that to the rest of my life. What did a winning relationship with my kids look like? What did a winning spiritual life look like? What did a winning personal fitness life look like?
Let’s start with the assumption that most people want to tell you how to live your life. Everyone wants to tell you what to do- politicians, your boss, your significant other, religious people, and don’t forget your mom! If you don’t define success for yourself in every major area of your life then someone else will. So do it now! Right now! Don’t wait! Do it immediately! (For those of you who appreciate sarcasm)
Remember when you were growing up, you were advised to get an education, work hard, get that college degree, buy your first car, get married, buy a house, have kids, etc? Every one of these pieces of advice was given from a perspective of an idealized image of what was best for you- by someone else. If you followed the advice, you might have a good life to the outside world, but is it your life?
- Figure out what winning looks and feels like to you for each major area of your life. Just a few examples of broad categories are:
- Make a chart outlining what winning looks like to you in each area. Some people like to write it down, others prefer a mental chart.
- Review your chart each morning before you start work.
- Make all of your decisions with your “winning” picture of each area in mind. Ask yourself when making a big decision, “is this going to help me win?”
- Know that you are achieving “your” balance and let everyone else who has a different idea of balance pound sand.
At the end of your life, you only have yourself to blame if you don’t feel you lived life the way you wanted to do it. This sounds simple but you get the life you live and if you don’t have any idea of where you want to end up, any road will get you there but you probably won’t like it.
If you are pursuing your ultimate goals to win in every area of your life, you will achieve your balance. Will that be balanced for anyone else? Who knows but if it works for you why should you struggle for someone else’s ideal?