When you hear the phrase “work / life balance”, what does that mean to you?
People typically talk about work/life balance as though it is the ultimate goal to be attained.
It’s the gold standard of living.
“If we could JUST…GET…TO…BALANCE…then everything would be perfect!”
But what do people ACTUALLY mean when they talk about work /life balance?
The phrase has been thrown around long enough that its starting to become meaningless. It’s akin to telling a customer that your company “adds value” or “provides solutions.”
Here is what I think most people are thinking when they’re saying it:
“If you can figure out how to spend culturally acceptable levels of time and energy on your work and home life, you can achieve everything you want and everyone will be happy; your employer, your family, and hopefully you will too.”
Basically, you’ve apportioned your time so that everyone is happy with their piece of you.
Now, of course this is a concept that most people could get behind.
And that is exactly why you should NOT. You understand the concept that if you try to please everyone you end up pleasing no one? I think that principle applies here too.
So by now you might be thinking, “Woah woah woah…you want me to cut out time with my family to do more work?” Nope.
“You want me to quit my job, start a self sustaining farm and live of the grid with my family?” Nope.
You need to recalibrate what work / life balance means to you.
The whole concept of “traditional” work / life balance defined above is for people that aren’t going places very quickly.
If you’re still reading this blog almost 2 years into its existence, that means you are likely a motivated salesperson that’s into personal development.
You’re interested in growing as a person.
You’re working to become the best self you can be in all areas of your life: family, friendships, and your career.
So this won’t really come as a surprise to you when I tell you that the easiest way to get ahead is to work more than other people.
But what does “work more than other people” actually mean?
It means that you need to spend all the time you normally allocate for your job working as efficiently and proficiently as you can.
Then you go home, you have a wonderful family time, you put the kids to bed. You talk or play Rummikub with your significant other. Then you go back to work.
Yes…that’s right. In the evening. You go back to work.
This night work can vary greatly depending on your occupation. It might be actual work related to or in support of the job you’re doing during the day. It could be research or training that would help you advance in your current company or earn more in your current role. It could be a work from home business that makes you extra money. It could even be mind expanding reading of books or articles about subjects you’re passionate about.
The reason most people don’t get ahead is that they view a work / life imbalance as a bad thing. They try not to work “too much.”
Then they end up working until 65 years old or older….because they don’t have a choice.
Where has this philosophy of “balance” gotten us?
MOST Americans aren’t prepared for retirement. The average net worth of the middle 20% of Americans nearing retirement is only $165,700. That’s 2-4 years of living expenses saved up for a group that’s slated to live for 20-30 years past their expected retirement date. Insane.
That’s the MIDDLE 20%.
The bottom 40% of the population has less than $165,000 saved all the way down to absolutely nothing.
So do what my mentor Jim Rohn says: “Dont have days like most people have. You’ll wind up broke and poor.” Walk away from the majority and join the few.
Those few are working an extra hour or two every evening developing their skills; building an enterprise; creating something.
This reminds me of a segment of Earl Nightingale’s Lead the Field program where he talks about the advantage of this investment of time:
A person that invests just ONE (1) additional hour per weekday (take Saturdays and Sundays off!) of focused effort into any endeavor will build themselves a time advantage of 6 ½ additional 40 hour weeks PER YEAR. Now ask yourself how hard it is to rise above that so-called “competition.”
It’s time to walk away from the traditional idea of work / life balance and embrace the idea of investing into your future. Shake off the inherent laziness of our time and realize that everything is relative. It only seems like more work while you’re not used to it. It will become an effortless part of your day when it’s become a habit.
Start tonight. Do something that will build a bright, secure, peaceful future while your neighbors are watching The Voice.
Happy working my friends.