Tag Archive for 'life balance'

Balancing our work and life

Work is essential as the activity that delivers the things necessary for our survival as humans. Beyond survival, work is the lever of our intellectual curiosity and the blessing that has produced civilization.

Congratulations, civilization, because many small business owners love what they do so much that they actually don’t think about it as work – or that they would ever stop.

Alas, facing that indictment, this business owner would be guilty as charged.

B.C. Forbes (1880-1954), founder of Forbes magazine and grandfather of Steve Forbes, said, “I have known not a few men who, after reaching the summit of business success, found themselves miserable upon attaining retirement.”

Is Mr. Forbes warning us about retirement or the dangers of a life without balance? If the latter, consider this Blasingame Small Business Principle: “The work we love can morph from blessing to curse if it exists without balance.”

If you love your work, congratulations; but simultaneous with that love, make sure you also love whatever can counter-weight your work to balance the scales of your life: golf, tennis, knitting, or — and this is a big one — your child’s ball game.

Research shows that balancing our beloved work with other interests enhances physical and mental well-being, and actually increases productivity. And it makes us much more interesting and desirable to be around.

Balancing work and life is easier for employees than it is for an owner because they’re typically concerned only with their assignments. But when the proverbial “buck” stops on the owner’s desk, it’s loaded up with all of the challenges and opportunities facing every aspect of the business. And even if you’ve acquired the ability to take all of this in stride, “all of this” quite simply just takes a lot of time.

Consequently, achieving balance requires conscious intention, plus a little bit more. Finding the right combination of work and balance in the life of a small business owner requires the execution of at least three of the things that we use to achieve success in our businesses: planning, scheduling, and discipline.

The virtue of having a business or financial plan is self-evident. But we should be just as disciplined about a plan that balances work with other interests. Otherwise, paraphrasing Mr. Forbes, we may become miserable upon retirement.

Surely, the recipe for happiness includes work, relationships, and experiences that create memories.

Make sure your memories aren’t just about work.

I talked with Jim HarterChief Scientist for Gallup’s international workplace management and wellbeing practices and author of Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements, about achieving balance in life both personally and professionally. Click here to listen or download our conversation.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

In defense of us scrooges

Some say I’m a scrooge – they might be right. But here are three exhibits in my defense:

1. The early part of my career was spent in retail. Retail is tough on the holiday spirit. There’s a syndrome for everything else; why not one for retail survivors? Let’s call it PTHSS: Post-Traumatic Holiday Shock Syndrome.

2. Since I don’t wait until the holidays to give someone a gift, I just don’t get all worked up about holiday giving.

Not that the ladies mind getting stuff all year (let’s not lose our heads!) ­ it’s just that they want me to be giddy about giving at Christmas-time. Giddy? Bah! Humbug!

3. As an avowed and devout contrarian, it would be antithetical for me to feel obligated to do what everyone else is doing. And if there is one thing that has become part and parcel of the holiday season, it is obligation. For example:

a) If someone gives my significant other and me a last-minute gift before Christmas, “Other” feels obligated to reciprocate. I don’t. I’ll do something nice for them in March.

b) After the Christmas cards have been sent, if an incoming card is received from someone not on your list, do you rush to get a card out to them? Not me. Maybe next year.

In The World According To Blasingame, giving should be voluntary, not obligatory. In fact, to a scrooge, not reciprocating is actually endearing.

It’s not that I don’t like the holidays. As a Christian, this is an important time in my faith life. As a capitalist, the importance of holiday spending to our economy is not lost on me. But I just don’t care for what we self-absorbed humans hath wrought on the holiday season; and if that makes me a scrooge, guilty as charged.

On behalf of my misunderstood brethren (this isn’t politically incorrect ­ apparently, there are no female scrooges), let me clear up a few things.

1. Scrooges are lovable, huggable and, yes, even cute.

2. It’s a myth that all scrooges are skinflints. Some are actually quite generous, but their generosity isn’t obsessive and doesn’t come with giggles.

3. Scrooges can be quite caring and compassionate without saying, “Bless their hearts,” over and over. As proof ­ and to influence my acquittal ­ I offer two challenges into evidence; one for me and one for us:

I challenge myself to be more receptive to, and tolerant of, the silly parts of the holiday season and those who perpetuate the silliness. But, please, be patient; the mill of a scrooge grinds slowly.

I challenge us to be more generous, loving, thankful and spiritual all year long, not just during the holidays.

Imagine what would happen if we all practiced peace on earth, goodwill toward everyone, every day. It might sound something like this: “Let’s help those people right now, in the middle of July!”

Peace to you and yours. Shalom. Salaam. Que la paz este con ustedes.

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