I was spending time with my goddaughter, Madison, a 5 year old precocious little girl who has tenacity and perseverance like no other; who rarely finds defeat in anything. I wonder who taught her that. Her mother would say I might have something to do with it, but personally I think it’s in her genes – hey genealogy is another subject altogether! All of sudden I heard the sound of one hand clapping! I thought, what is up with the silence? Where is she?
Madison was quietly up in the office and I saw her feet dangling from the chair. I knew she had to be doing something, so I called her name “Madison!” With a milk mustache and crumbs around her mouth, she turned around while typing on the computer and replied “I can’t talk right now Mama Leelee, I’m working”. I looked at her and thought “oh my god, we’ve created a monster.”
Madison is already learning the importance of work and that you might even have to work through your milk and cookies break. **sigh**
For the wo(man) who has a full life, balance is the buzzword these days and you’re probably working through your own version of the milk and cookies break. You’ll hear the terms “work-life balance”, or “I need to create a more balanced life” going around. I’ve had that come up in my own life, a time or two. I mean it’s pretty full.
I have many roles to play. I’m a partner, friend, CEO of a training and development company, President of a women’s organization, a daughter who’s responsible for keeping a close eye on aging parents, a godmother, a sister and an auntie who travels extensively with my career.
When I think of balance, I think of what the word really means – generally defined as an equal distribution of weight.
Now, if I just take a typical day, I wake up at 4:30/4:45 am and head to the gym. I then commute back by around 6:45 am, go through the morning routine and be in the office no later than 8:45 am. I work till 6:30 pm or so. Prepare dinner, eat, spend time chatting with family which brings me around 8:30 pm to prepare for the next day. I take time to wind down, prepare for bed and fall into a coma-like sleep around 10:00 pm to repeat the cycle the next day. If I spend a large chunk of time at work, say 8+ hours which we all do, and another chunk getting ready for work, commuting, and spending some quality time with kids, partners and significant others, there isn’t a lot of time left.
Can there really be an equal distribution of weight? Is it possible to attain balance? Some believe that answer is clear, however I’d say attaining balance, by its definition, is almost impossible for the business owner who’s building and creating a successful business or a top executive who’s at the helm and accountable for the success of a multi-million dollar enterprise. Balance is an illusion created in the mind and not realistic. I say, what’s more effective and perhaps even more liberating is considering what you really want and developing a blueprint for success.
When I look at my life and consider my strongest desires, I can think of a few wants. I really want to be sure my parents have a great quality of life for their remaining years. I want Madison to have a wonderful experience as a child and grow into an amazing woman. I want the businesses I’m involved in to thrive and be successful, to provide exceptional service for years to come, and develop profound long lasting relationships.
As I examine my wish list of desires and consider my personal blueprint for success, I consider questions like:
•Do I want quantity or quality?
•Does what I want require my physical presence?
•Can I leverage other talent to get the results that I want?
I then examine the P3 Circles of Life (spiritual, emotional, physical) as it relates to what I want to have.
In the first circle is the Spiritual self, where vision and purpose are housed. Deeply in the spirit of who I am, I unveil what the vision is for this particular area of life. For example, the vision for my dad is that he experiences a high level of worth and value, in spite of his sometimes less than cooperative body. He had a stroke several years ago that has over time rendered him slow moving in getting to where he wants to go.
In the second circle is the Emotional self, where self-taught limitations in problem solving and thinking hinder my ability to successfully resolve what I want. So I’d ask myself:
•What internal thoughts do I have about what I want?
•Are they consistent with having what I want or are they sabotaging my thoughts?
•How do I change my paradigm/mindset to be more synergistic with my desires?
With regards to my dad, I changed the thought that I was the only one who could support him in having the quality of life he wants.
In the third circle of life is the Physical self, where vision meets reality. I’d ask myself:
•Where is the breakdown in my skill set that derails my results?
•How can I manage my time in a way that allows the ultimate result to be produced?
With regards to my dad, it isn’t my skill set that will produce results of what I want, but someone else’s! Ah-ha!
Here are a few additional steps to having your success blueprint work efficiently and effectively:
First, write down what you want – you must be crystal clear about what you want and have the ability to articulate it clearly.
Next, write down the things you are doing – write down everything you are doing currently. Yes, everything!
Compare the list against what you want and eliminate those things that are not in alignment with what you want. Be brutally honest about what needs to go, without over-analyzing. Simply mark off what is not a fit for what you want.
Add things that you do want – begin thoroughly investigating the things that you do want that are not listed and add them without hesitation.
Go to work on how you think about the list of all your wants and desires – you may need a new mindset about how to have what you want. Remember to tickle your intellect and shake up how you’ve been thinking.
Then apply the 4 principles of time management:
•Do only the things that you can do – be careful here. This is tough.
•Leverage your resources – take a look at your pool of resources to determine what you have at your fingertips that can be leveraged to aid in having what you want.
•Delegate tasks to those who are willing to do that task, are skilled, competent, have the capacity, and passion for the responsibility of it all.
•Manage the results. Follow up to see if things are getting done.
If you take this on, you’ll have a clear blueprint for success and balance will no longer plague you or even be a part of your vocabulary because you’ll discover you are enjoying life as you want it to be and not as you hoped or wished it to be!