It seems like a no-brainer these days - you should find balance in your personal and professional lives.
But when things happen faster than you can keep up with, and outside normal business hours, what do you do?
Some of the men in our mastermind groups online live on the other side of the planet. They manage remote teams. They keep odd hours, because many of their clients or customers are on different time zones.
This is about more than balance between what’s personal and what’s professional. After all, part of the idea of being in an online mastermind group is to grow in both categories, so that your integrity goes with you no matter which hat you’re wearing.
Why You Can’t Stop Working, Nor Should You Stop Living
You might have heard my story of coming home one day with a pocket full of money to a house full of strangers. I still wince a little to think of how easily I rationalized being a workaholic in those days.
I don’t know why it was, but I felt this tremendous pressure to perform and prove that I was valuable to the world. So when a moment would come up where I could choose whether or not to continue working, I chose work.
Those are the moments we need to be ready to make a choice not to work. You might come from that side of the discussion. Most entrepreneurs do. It’s one reason I think all business owners should participate in masterminds online.
Get to Work
There are also moments when you have to grab the bull by the horns and get into work mode. We’ve been reading about former President Lyndon Johnson in the book “Leadership In Turbulent Times” this month. It turns out, long before smartphones and the internet enabled us to bring work home with us, you could be a workaholic.
Johnson’s workaholism led to a heart attack in 1955, while he was majority leader of the US Senate. It forced him off the road he was trying to follow to reach the White House. He went into a deep depression while in hospital, because he couldn’t “attack” work like he always had.
But then the mail began to pour in. The future president received over 4000 letters, telegrams and cards wishing him well. Reading them lit a fire in Johnson, and it was like a miracle recovery.
He turned the entire 17th floor of the hospital where he stayed into a busy office, with stenographers typing out response letters on his behalf to all the people who wrote to him.
Learn to Turn It Off
By the same token, President Johnson also learned to live and work at a clip that his heart and body could handle. He changed his entire lifestyle, including eating habits, exercise and naps. He learned to speak and walk a little slower, and became less domineering.
Johnson also connected with the public by writing a magazine article titled “My Heart Attack Taught Me How to Live.” He began to live a more well-rounded life, reading books, listening to music, taking pleasure in nature and softening his hard-charging personality. He was still ambitious, but he’d learned his limits.
In my work as a Christian life coach, I have met more than a few people, men especially, who have to learn how to “turn it off.” This is so important for any healthy marriage and relationships with your children. They need your love, attention and affection.
If you want to give your family “the good life,” you have to be able to do it without money before you do it with money. Otherwise, the money simply amplifies the fact that you weren’t a good husband and father when you were poor, and you’re no better now.
Don’t Get Lazy Either
You might have the opposite problem. Maybe your personal development is great, but you can’t hack this thing called work. Your family is financially compromised because of bad decisions you’ve made with money. This is also no good.
One time, I remember a conversation I overheard between Dan Miller and Dave Ramsey about someone we knew who said he was “Waiting on the Lord” to know what he was called to do. Being God-fearing men, all three of us respected this. But Dave said something I’ve never forgotten … in a way only Dave Ramsey can say it:
“Okay, fine. But he’d better be delivering pizzas while he’s waiting.”
If you’re struggling in your career, it’s a wise idea to surround yourself with a coach or mentor who can help you find your way forward. Whatever you do, you have to escape isolation, and live in community with other like-minded advisors who can help you.
Because as President Ronald Reagan once said, “Sometimes the best solution for poverty is to get a job.”
The Truth About Balance
You can call it balance, mixture, blend … the word isn’t all that important. I think we should stop pretending work and life are separate. Wouldn’t you agree we bring our personal problems with us to work, or into our business? We shouldn’t be surprised it goes the other way as well.
We simply need to be as professional about one as we are about the other. Just as you would expect an employee to set aside personal problems and get their job done, so your family shouldn’t have to live with a depressed husband/father who gets stressed out about work.
If this is an area of difficulty for you, I want to invite you to join one of our online masterminds at Iron Sharpens Iron. We have them for men and women.