Ivan Misner: When you stop worrying about what you’re not doing, you’ll find your life gets a whole lot easier

Personal and professional balance seems to be the ever-elusive dream for just about anyone who wants a well-rounded life. Yet finding that balance seems almost impossible.

I’m pleased to tell you, however, that I’ve found the secret to creating balance in life. Are you ready? Write this down, here it is: Fuggedaboutit! You’ll never find it!

I can hear you now, “What! No balance? That can’t be, it’s just not right!” But wait; while I don’t think balance is possible, I believe that creating harmony is.


Hone in on harmony

So, what do we do? For me, it’s about creating harmony. Using the yin-yang symbol as an icon, harmony is lopsided when you look at one aspect at a time. But as a whole, it feels complete. Long ago I figured out that while daily balance is almost impossible, I could create harmony using a few core principles.

A few years ago, concerned that I might not have been present enough, I asked my teenage son if he felt I was gone too much. He looked at me like I was crazy and said, “What? You’re around all the time.”

I said, “Not really, I travel almost every other week for business.” He said, “Yeah, but when you’re here — you’re totally here.” So wherever you are, be there, fully and completely. If you’re at work, don’t be thinking about the time you didn’t spend with the family the night before.

When you’re at home, don’t be thinking about the work you have to do at the office. This may require you to impose new sanctions on your cellphone and email use.

Set aside time to do the things that are truly important in your life. 

Everyone says that, but here’s my twist: Be creative. When I wrote my first book, I didn’t want to be holed up in my office writing and not be available to my family. 

So instead, a few evenings a month, I’d stay up with the family, put everyone to bed and then go into my office and work on my manuscript. I’d catch a few hours of sleep and get into the office a little late to start my day. Nothing pleased me more when I showed my eldest daughter the published book and she said, “When did you write that?!” That was proof of harmony to me.


Break up the routine

Every year I spend a week or two working from our lake house. I bring my staff for retreat/work days. Then, the last week or so, I take off completely and spend time with family. By integrating my two worlds, I create a sense of harmony.

When you’re 70 years old, you’re not going to wish you spent more time at the office. You don’t need to be a workaholic to be successful. Harmony is created where harmony is sought. Be creative and find ideas that work for you. Balance may be elusive, but harmony is possible.


Ivan Misner

Founder and chairman

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