“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them — work, family, health, friends and spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls — family, health, friends, and spirit — are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.”
―Brian Dyson, former vice chairman and COO of Coca-Cola
We all want the secret sauce to finding a fulfilling career while balancing that with the demands of family, health, friendships, and spirituality. The longer I live (I’m currently 43) the more I realize that when it’s all said and done, there’s just not a lot that is more important than the people I love in my life. Along with that, the more I realize that there really isn’t a one size fits all formula for finding balance in your family & career.
Gary Keller, in his book The ONE Thing, says that this idea of work-life balance is “Seen as something we ultimately attain, (but it’s) actually something we constantly do. A ‘balanced life’ is a myth — a misleading concept most accept as a worthy and attainable goal without ever stopping to truly consider it.” We are constantly and continually having to balance and re-balance the attention we give to the different aspects of our lives.
Today, I don’t want to tell you that you can simply put into practice these 4 principles and you will have work-life balance. What I do want to do is focus in on your unique story and ask you four questions that only you can answer, which will help lead you to a better sense of clarity and motivation towards the things in your life that help you find purpose in your work and family life.
Hopefully these questions will spark your thinking and work towards helping you establish appropriate boundaries for work as it relates to your family and those you love in your life.
- THE PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTION: What do you see as your purpose in life? Yes, we’re getting deep today. But if you don’t have an answer to this question you will likely find yourself running after whatever distraction is in front of you each minute. Living impulsively is a recipe for disaster in your life. Living on purpose will dramatically change you for it will help you to bring into focus that which is most important in your life. What is your Purpose? Which people closest to you are most affected if you pursue or do not pursue your purpose? What time do you need to cut out of your schedule to help you ascertain your purpose? How long have you wandered on the path you are on without understanding why you are here? How are those you serve in your business affected by you not knowing or pursuing your purpose with any passion? These are powerful and important questions. And you need to have an answer.
- THE RELATIONAL QUESTION: How can you integrate your personal life and your professional life better? Something I’ve found in my real estate business is that it is a highly relational business. So much so that it is easy to try and functionalize everything about your business so that it is doesn’t have to feel so relationship-oriented. But when we don’t value the people that are close to us and the people that our business touches, we have failed to see what we do as anything more than just a job we show up to everyday. Being a Real Estate Agent isn’t just showing up to a job everyday. It is interacting, intersecting, and integrating much of who we are into what we do. Contrary to popular opinion, what you do is not who you are. BUT, who you are will affect, infect, and influence what you do and how you do it. Learn how to make real estate a part of your life. Do NOT make your life real estate. There’s a way to work for a living without living for work.
- THE PRACTICAL QUESTION: In what way can you block your time so that priorities in your business get done without the priority of family getting pushed to the side? Lot’s of real estate “guru’s” will tell you that you have to answer the phone every time it rings or you’ll miss the deal. Lots of people will tell you that real estate has to interrupt your life in order for you to succeed. I will say that some very critical conversations must be had with those you love about the interruptions that are inevitable in this business. But you are the keeper of your schedule. Family time, health time, spiritual time, and friendship time can be scheduled, prioritized and held onto as meaningful and non-negotiable times. If a client doesn’t respect that, then they can find another realtor. You will set up boundaries and guidelines for how you run your business and how valuable your personal time is. While saying this, you do need to be aware of the times when most people are out looking for homes. Evenings and weekends are prime time for this, so don’t walk into your business with unrealistic expectations. Prepare your family for the schedule changes that must take place and decide on the front end what is most important.
- THE PROPHETIC QUESTION: What do you and your partner, your family, your loved ones envision your future to look like? There’s a word that many of us know but few of us know how to properly do it. SACRIFICE. John Maxwell says you have to “decide what you have to give up to go up”. That’s true. If you have a goal in mind, make sure it is something you and those closest to you have talked about. Dream big and then do. Activity will result in productivity. Decide what that looks like for you pursue it! The future you end up with will be the one you worked towards.
These aren’t the only questions to ask yourself in life…but they will definitely lead you to some meaningful insights. Hopefully this will help you discover that “work-life” balance is a myth… but it is not something you can’t work toward in some fashion.
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