You Are *Not* There (And That Is The Problem!)
Forget work-life balance. Try being there.
Have you thought about work-life balance and do you feel that your life is out of whack on this dimension?
I get calls about this all the time.
Entrepreneurs, professionals, senior executives – they all feel that work is taking up too much of their time. They need more ‘personal’ time to recharge their batteries.
But some portion of this dilemma can be relieved fairly easily.
You just have to think about what I am about to share with you. And then do it.
Danny took my course – Creativity and Personal Mastery – at a top business school and felt that it really transformed his life for the better in many ways.
He was passing through a divorce at the time. It was not acrimonious but neither was it amicable.
He had an eight year old son and wanted to teach him some of the concepts he had found so valuable.
“You know Daddy and Mommy are not going to be together anymore?” he began tentatively.
The lad nodded morosely. There were tears in his eyes but they did not roll.
“Daddy is going to live in A—– and you are going to live in B—— with Mommy but you will visit with Daddy twice each month.”
His son nodded silently.
“Can you think of any way in which this could be a fun thing?” Danny asked desperately.
The boy considered. “I can go bicycling with Mommy and go to museums when I visit Daddy,” he ventured.
“Yes,” assented my student. “And you can have lots and lots of plane rides.” His son loved being on airplanes.
His son’s eyes lit up. “Will you give me all the pizza I want when I visit you or will you make me eat broccoli like Mommy?” he asked.
And then the floodgates opened.
He would have two sets of friends and do different things with them. He would stay up late and watch horror movies with Daddy and have friends come over on play dates with Mommy providing the eats.
Shortly they were both jumping up and down in excitement as they painted wonderful vistas.
“That went really well,” thought my student as the rush of ideas slowed and they sat together in companionable silence.
“What else would you like me to do?” he asked.
The boy had a ready answer.
“I wish you would talk to me like you just did. Most of the time when you are with me, you are never there.”
Danny narrated his tale with such pathos that there were many moist eyes in the classroom.
So, when you complain about the long hours at work and how they are keeping you away from family and how you need more time to spend with spouse and children, pause to consider this: How are you spending the time that you have?
When you are with your son or daughter, are you there?
Or are you busy mulling work problems or vacation plans or thinking about the Netflix movie you really want to watch but you never have the time?
Wherever you are, be there with heart and soul and full attention.
And you may still crave more time away from work but you will derive more joy from the limited discretionary time that you do have.