You’ve probably heard speakers talk about work-life balance. You've probably read books and articles about work-life balance. You, yourself, have probably been chasing work-life balance.
Do you want to know what I think of work-life balance?
I think it’s a myth. I don’t think it’s real. I don’t.
See there was and is no trust fund for me.
As a matter of fact, I joked with my dad, until the day he passed, and I would ask of him frequently, “Are you sure you’re not hiding a trust fund, filled with millions of dollars, for me?” Dad would say, “No, Dan, there’s no trust fund.”
I’d quip back with a smile, “I see Dad, it's all part of the test, isn’t it? You want to make sure I’m loyal. Well I am.”
Even though my dad is gone, I still chuckle to myself, that someday, two men in suits are going to knock my door, and say, “Your father sent us. We’ve been watching you. Here are your millions of dollars. You’ve finally passed your dad’s test” That would be so like my dad.
It hasn’t happened yet and I’m losing a little bit of hope that it will ever happen. So here is the deal, God and the gods of the copybook headings—a small ode to Rudyard Kipling—have determined, I’m going to work for a living. And that’s okay, I don’t mind it; it’s actually exciting.
But here is the problem for all of us overzealous, big idea, high achieving, type people—by the time we get done working, and by the time we get done sleeping (because we’re human beings and we have to do that), how much time is left in our day?
You might have kids at home. What time do they go to bed? 8pm? 8:30pm?
And what time do you get home from work? 6pm 6:30pm?
Basic subtraction tells us, that’s two hours. And still knowing that we only have that time—two hours—I know what we all have a tendency to do; we walk into the house and say:
Put the game on . . .
Hi, I have to get on a conference call . . .
Nice to see you, I have to check my email . . .
I’ve had a horrible day and I just need some alone time . . .
Those people in our home at night, they’ve been waiting. They’ve been waiting for us all day. They’re thinking to themselves, give us a fraction of the time you just gave all those people at work, outside these four walls.
Now I try never to speak in absolutes; I just want you to try something out. Instead of trying to achieve this mythical status of work-life balance, I want you to consider something that saved me.
Work-life presence. I want to be where I am and I want to be there fully.
So at home, the life part of work-life presence, if we only have two hours with them, lets make it the best two hours of their day.
Down goes the cell phone.
Off goes the TV.
Away goes the laptop.
Be fully present and fully engaged.
For more ideas on how to pursue work-life presence, listen to episode 029 of my leadership podcast, Garage to Goliath | Leaders Building Legacies:
Be where you are and be there fully.
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