Sales people and entrepreneurs have a unique advantage when it comes to achieving balance in their lives. Yes, we have to work hard and we frequently work long hours, but most of us also have a degree of control over when, where, and how many hours we work. Unlike most employees, our time is not restricted to 9 to 5.
At the time Harry Chapin’s, The Cat’s In The Cradle was popular our children were young and it struck a chord with me. The lyrics are worth remembering:
When you coming home Dad? I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, son. We’re gonna have a good time then. To which the son responds,I’ll grow up just like you, Dad. In the poignant final verse, the adult son repeats his father’s words; he is too busy to spend time with his retired dad who wants him to visit more often.
As my children were growing up, I was building a couple businesses; but made time to go to their soccer games, read them stories at night, go for walks in the woods and take travel vacations to expand their horizons. I had a lot more energy then, and work that was deferred so I could be with my kids could often be done after they were tucked into bed. It was my way of ensuring balance.
Work-life balance doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a lot of free time; rather, that you decide what your values and priorities are and arrange your time and lifestyle to accommodate those.
Some people erroneously think that balance means you’re expending energy in equal proportion in each area of your life. Probably not. Your definition of balance will change over time just as your priorities change. Young children often need more of your attention than they might as they mature. Time for your own education or training may take a higher priority if you’ve just lost your job. Health and exercise will become more important if you’ve just had a heart attack. A close brush with bankruptcy or a big financial goal will make your job and your earning potential a greater focus of your time.
Life isn’t a straight line. It can change daily, throwing a monkey wrench into your best-laid plans. Make conscious decisions rather than knee-jerk reactions. Assess and adjust your sense of balance on a regular basis so that you can focus on the areas that are most important to you. Balance will help you to avoid those catastrophes that force a new focus upon you.