Finding balance: It’s about progress, not perfection

By nature, I am not a balanced person — by human nature, most of us are not balanced. If left to my own devices, I’d work around the clock, eat candy, work more, enjoy some of my mom’s homemade pizza, and work more. You get the idea.

Balance is a choice. Some days, I do better than others.

Here are some tools I put into practice in my life to help me make better choices to lead a more balanced, fulfilling life:

First, I write down my goals. I put pen to paper and maintain a running list. That document of goals and objectives is not fancy. They’re notes-to-self, but my thoughts are organized, and getting them on paper ensures that I more closely examine my ideas, my aspirations—what I want to accomplish in a day, a week, a lifetime.

This is how I organize my goals: I create major categories — business, family, faith, investing, etc. I take time to really think about how I’d like to improve in those categories. What do I want to learn? What skills do I want to develop? Who can I connect with to learn more? What connections can I make for others?

Then I take my large categories and create specific sub-categories. For example, I break “business” down into sections, marketing, HR, management and so on. I do this for every major category.

Then comes the next integral step: I connect the dots between those categories to figure out how I can leverage the lessons I’ve learned in one area to apply in another facet of my life to avoid mistakes in those.

What business lessons have I learned that I can apply to my investments? What faith lessons can I apply to my business? How can the lesson I learned at home with family change the way I act in a business, investment or community setting?

Our lives are one big picture — each of these pieces-parts fits into the whole. When we look at the whole and make choices about how we spend our time, we can achieve better balance.

How am I doing? Well, I work very hard at avoiding that candy jar. I exercise every morning, walking on the treadmill. While I do this, I might read on my tablet or have a phone conversation. I go to mass every morning at 6:30 a.m. and pause for reflection, say thank you, consider what I can do to improve. I fall short. But I’m there every day, working on balance.

Will I ever find balance? I don’t know. But I do know I work very hard every single day. Balance is a choice.

Umberto P. Fedeli is president and CEO at The Fedeli Group