I recently wrote a post on Instagram about this. It is a topic that I have thought about for a long time, and something I felt I never saw eye-to-eye on with others. That is when we hear the word balance. In my opinion, that word is used to make people feel better about giving less effort, or embracing mediocrity. At least for myself, when I was doing a job or task I didn’t care about, I would blame my lack of effort on wanting better balance in my life. Is that what I really wanted? Or did I make the mistake of being mediocre because I didn’t care about my task at hand? It stings to think about, but it is the truth.
While working in sales in the past, I had a director that spoke about “work life balance” and how he despised what that meant. He used the term “work life integration” after realizing that “work” and “life” aren’t mutually exclusive things. That made more sense to me. With his background in athletics, he would reference sports all the time to help improve the mentality of the sales team. Balance was something that never went hand in hand with his sport’s analogies.
Weeks later, that same director held an anonymous Q&A session with the sales team, so people could actually be honest and possibly even brutally so with their questions. One of the first questions went something like this.. “I work almost everyday and do more than my required 8 hrs. I feel like I am always working, and no one is supporting the sales reps that aren’t doing well. The only thing management does is talk about and reward the highest performers in the company.” With this being the first anonymous Q&A that I was apart of, I had no idea how our director was going to respond to that. After all, one of the core values of that company was work life balance. Well, he did not disappoint with his answer. Like an old salty football coach, he went off. His voice was loud, and the sales team was quiet as he intensely said he would NEVER stop rewarding and talking about the top performers. He went on to question how could he essentially reprimand someone for working hard? He had a great point.
Think about the achievement in your life that you are most proud of. The one that you worked for tirelessly. The one that made you stay home while all of your friends were out partying. The one that required you to wake up earlier in the morning than most people’s bedtime. The one that required maybe even years of grit and execution, while no one else even knew what was going on with you. The one where such high performance was required from you, that if you failed that one thing..it would all be over. Would you say that you had balance during that time? I am going to make a wild guess and say for most of you, the answer would be no.
The difficult part about the topic of balance is there is no exact formula to even obtain it. Many people have different definitions of it as well, and it can change throughout your life. Especially when you have a significant other, children, or other important commitments. What I love about not being perfectly balanced.. at least in regard to wanting to win or accomplish something important.. it requires you to let go of the “fluff”. You become solely focused on those few important things in your life. Your focus gets more narrow, but your vision goes a lot deeper. Less actually becomes more.
I hope for the people that are looking to accomplish something amazing (even if it’s something others may laugh at) that you stop feeling guilty for not being perfectly balanced like the world teaches us. Especially when people use that word as a cover up for effortless mediocrity. Whether that means putting more time into your family, starting a business, or accomplishing an athletic endeavor, you do not need anyone else’s permission to do so.
Stay Mission Driven Everyone.