For many years now I have told client after client that in all my years of teaching, as a manager, as an entrepreneur, as a parent and as a person who has traveled all over the world that I’ve learned one very important lesson.
Just what is it?
I’ll get to that. But first let me explain how I came to this conclusion.
I learned in my studies that life can be broken down into 8 specific areas: health, wealth, family, hobbies, relationships, career, personal space, and contribution.
If one or more areas isn’t taken care of then we run into trouble.
While I had never sat down and thought about it before I suppose unconsciously I already knew this to be true.
I knew people who were rich, but not happy. I also knew people who were rich who were.
I knew people who were perfectly healthy with a lovely family, but were always struggling financially. I met people who were making good money and had good friends, but always seemed to run into trouble, be it their health or with their family.
Together, these create the good life. That doesn’t mean one has to have a large fortune or perfect family, but what it does mean is that we must attend to each area or pay the consequences.
As such I can sum up what the key to living well is and it is what I share with every client I meet – balance is everything.
Too many people shift from one to the other when they feel their life is out of balance.
Let’s say Chris gets sick. He immediately focuses his energy there in order to recover and get back to work.
But as soon as he has recovered, he has to focus on work, but as he has been out of the office for some time and needs to work overtime. As a result, he forsakes his family.
He feels burnt out and when he finally is able to take a day off, he disappears to play golf as he hasn’t done so for quite some time as he had to attend to his health and then his work.
This continues for a while till he returns home to find his house quiet and a note on the fridge door – “Taken the kids to my mother’s, need some time away.”
Now he shifts into family mode as his marriage is in crisis.
The stress from marriage causes him to lose focus at work and soon finds himself biting people’s heads off at work for the smallest of mistakes.
Stress is taking its toll on his body and he can’t sleep at night, which makes him even more miserable.
He wants to blow off steam, but he has no time for himself as he is constantly juggling his work issues and his family problems.
Finally the stress becomes too much and ends up right where he started.
This is a completely hypothetical case, but you get the idea. It’s all interconnected.
One area affects the other. Ignore the warning signs of one (which I wrote about in a post the other day) and you run the risk of having to deal with the consequences later.
That’s why we must learn to keep things in balance.
We have all heard the expression, “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy,” but this can apply to so much.
All health and no money is a painful situation. All money and no health is even worse.
The problem is that few people learn to manage their time well and as such are often controlled by outside forces.
A simple solution to this is organize time for each. Many parents I know make Sunday family time, which makes a lot of sense to me.
Dinner time is another family event.
So are holidays, or at least most of them.
Once or twice a month, organize to do something alone – a present for yourself. You can choose to play golf, read a book you’ve been meaning to get to or whatever, as long as it’s something you really want to do.
Spend a few hours a month thinking about finances and how you can increase them.
Read a book on health, then start applying some simple ideas into your life, such as a jog around the block after dinner or more nutritional meals.
These changes don’t have to be monumental. You’ll be surprised that small changes can have profound effects, especially over time.
In life we all have a choice to make. Either we design our lives the way we want them, or life designs our lives for us.
I assure you the former is the better choice.