In his book, The Great Game of Business, Jack Stack talks about an important point missing from most American’s drive to succeed. (If you haven’t ordered and read Jack’s book yet, do it.)
It’s one of the 10 points he makes in the book that you must adhere to in order to succeed in business.
“You Gotta Wanna.”
Simple on the surface. But, it forces the person accepting it to dig deep. Every time. To displace previously accepted tenants of success. To understand that success requires imbalance.
I’ll give you an example: Most folks’ future wealth is easy to determine by their behaviors. It’s hard to not show your true colors eventually. Natural behaviors that you and I don’t focus on fixing end up coming to the surface.
Every hugely successful entrepreneur is naturally out of balance. There’s no way to live a balanced life and be of top prominence. Top 1% of income AND wealth.
Let’ spend a brief time on “Balance.” It’s defined by the all-knowing Google as, “a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.”
A key to this definition is your own thoughts about “correct proportions.” What may appear to many to be unequal really isn’t. The tough part here is to get the other party to agree due to the weight and value of the different elements.
There’s the work-life “balance.” There’s the balance of enough revenue to pay the bills and not go broke. There’s the balance of keeping relationships in place. (My friends and extended family are hit with this the most – I neglect them terribly at times, in order to keep my wife and 2 girls close and happy while being productive – there IS a cost to this – You have to “Gotta Want It.”)
I explained to my wife early on in our marriage that a lifestyle we both wanted with certain freedoms required payment of some kind. The payment she and my kids would have to make would be in having to sacrifice time spent with me. They’d not get me all day every day. There in fact, might be weeks go by where they’d not get me at all. Fortunately, that’s not been often. (Think about being a soldier’s wife – those men and women are gone for MONTHS at a time and in harm’s way just from wearing the uniform and being an American. Talk about payment.) But, certainly a week at a time isn’t unusual. Certainly it’s a regular event for me to work from the morning ‘til evening – even on Saturdays. And, yes, even on some Sundays. Many times over the years, late into the evening. Sometimes, having dinner brought out to me while I worked.
This past weekend was as much work as play while I fit in a volleyball tournament with my oldest, and a short baseball game with the youngest in the yard, then, back to work both days. I spent an hour writing, an hour on the phone at different times with different folks, and later that night, more writing. No time squandered. Too much to do. Too many opportunities to take advantage of. Early to rise this morning to get this piece written.
Some ask how I get done what I do. It’s because I don’t waste time. I use every minute of productive time in a day that I’m given. Squandering time is akin to squandering money. And, I don’t believe one can ever have too much time, or…money.
Balance is all relative. Do I love my kids? Unquestioningly. Would I do anything for them? Duh. And, I want to set a good example for them. One where Dad is playing all the time isn’t that. Dad working his butt off to achieve something? Definitely. I want them to be productive, rely on no one for anything and work hard. Life’s tough. And, the sooner they learn that and realize it, the better. The more resilient they’ll be.
Sure, I won’t say on my death bed, “I wish I could have spent one more day at the office.” However, I don’t want to saddle my wife or kids or a future generation from my being lazy and dying broke. That’s a balance I’m willing to throw off.
Defining, then living your life on your terms is really what balance is all about. If I get to do that, if YOU get to do that, we are living a balanced life. To hell with the complainers.
Don’t get me wrong: I do enjoy getting away and relaxing. It’s rare for me to take any more than 7 days of vacation. In fact, I can’t ever tell you a time when I’ve taken off two weeks. But, I do have a 10-day break coming. But… like my dad told me, the job’s done when it’s done and not a minute before. And, I’ve got a lot of jobs to do.
Where do you weigh in on all this?