Work/life balance is the ultimate word problem for any professional — and you thought you were beyond the painful struggles of your school-age math career!
Consider: Google the term “work/life balance” you’ll get about 334 million results. With all the people on the planet, this brings us to 1-in-12 weighing-in on this complex equation. Your time is a finite commodity, and there are countless factors demanding to be quantified … how do you balance it all out?
I’m not about to tell you that I’ve cracked the code. Learning what makes me feel successful professionally and personally comes with correctly identifying when professional and personal priorities can co-exist and when they must be separate. My 24 years as CEO has brought tremendous challenges at times, but a strong belief that “I can do this” often guides my success. Here’s some of what’s worked so far:
- Be positive: Achieving work/life balance is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Believing that you can get there is most of the battle.
- Stay flexible: Change isn’t just inevitable; it’s invaluable because of the opportunities it can offer. Bending with ever-shifting evolutions of professional and personal priorities is essential to maintaining an even keel.
- Take the long view: Years and years of life experience is necessary to achieve the complex navigation of work/life balance. Yes, it’s a paradox that the only shortcut in all of this is learning that there are no shortcuts. It’s a life-long trip — so be your own guru, pace yourself and enjoy.
- Big picture professionally speaking: You’ve invested years of hard work to make your mark professionally. Additionally, family, mentors, friends and neighbors have made — and continue to make — an investment in you. Investments are made when people believe that something good will come from the dedication of their resources. You are the sum of those resources. Revel in that fact and honor it with your time, attention and gratitude.
- Big picture personally speaking: Achieving success personally occasionally comes at the expense of your professional life. Managing work priorities to leverage your personal life isn’t OK … it’s mandatory.
- Spoiler alert: You’re going to get it wrong sometimes, and it’s gonna sting. Choices come with consequences, both good and bad — but if you’re in the right frame of mind, both come with great lessons. The hurt that comes with a bad choice lets you know you were out of bounds, and you can use the experience to recalculate and recover your balance.
It’s exponential: A strong work/life balance makes you and your staff happy. When you and you’re staff are happy, the organization is more productive. When the organization is more productive, success is established.
Success at work begets success at home and vice-versa. The net? Effective work/life balance is much more than a “feel-good” thing; it’s a business imperative for executives and employees alike because at every level, professional and personal success is the answer we’re all working toward.