Leadership Through Worklife
Too many people do not discover how to live until it is time to die. They spend the best years of their lives chasing that illusory pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, working long hours, neglecting their families and their health in the process only to find that, at the end of the day, their obsessive pursuit of a fat bank account and the coveted corner office did not bring the deep fulfillment that they craved. Too many of us miss out on the simple gifts that every day brings like the glory of the sunrise or the laughter of a young child because we are so busy trying to make a living we have lost sight of the real meaning of life. Then one day, in our twilight years, we finally reflect on "what could have been" and our hearts flood with regret over school concerts missed, family vacations not taken and magical moments lost. Perhaps Henry David Thoreau said it best when he observed "most people dread finding out when they come to die that they have never really lived."
There is nothing wrong with great achievement. Those of you who have read "The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari" or attended one of my speeches know that I believe that a life without career success and professional fulfillment is an incomplete life. We all have a deep human hunger to create something great through the work we do and shine in our chosen occupations. The point of wisdom is simply this: do not sacrifice a joy-filled life for the sake of achievement. Instead, joyfully achieve. Balance your commitment to being the best you can be at work with a deep commitment to being a great family person and loving friend. Understand that without balance in every core area of your life, you will never find lasting happiness and a sense that you have lived well. As Gandhi noted: "One can not do right in one area of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in another. Life is one indivisible whole."
Here are 4 areas to focus on as you move through the year and restore balance in your life:
1. Relationship Balance
It is a myth that "quality time" is all your loved ones need for them to feel cared for and appreciated by you. You must go the extra mile and ensure that the right quantity of time is also provided for the bonds of trust and love to grow. Children, in particular, believe that the more time you spend with them reflects how much you love them. In my coaching programs, one of the techniques I teach is the use of a "private date night" where you and the loved one you wish to connect with go out alone on the same evening every week for some real communication. Make it fun and playful if possible. Laughter is the shortest distance between two people and if you can make your loved one laugh, you will be on track for some healthy bonding. This simple ritual will ensure that no week slips by without you spending time with the people that matter the most. The great thing about bringing back "Relationship Balance" is that it creates a great sense of synergy in all of the other areas of your life. For example, when your home life is in fine order, you have the mental focus and peace of mind to concentrate fully on your business and create the kind of enterprise you know you are capable of creating.
2. Career Balance
Just as spending too much time away from your loved ones working will create imbalance in your life, failing to do what it takes to be an effective and excellent business person will also create stress in your days. We all have a deep human hunger to gain fulfillment through work and add value to people's lives through our career pursuits. When we are not doing so, our hearts fill with a feeling of longing and emptiness. Reflect on what 3 things you could do over the next 90 days to be a star at work. Is there a skill you need to upgrade? Are there some books you need to read or courses you need to take? Perhaps you are in need of a mentor who can offer you some strategic advice as to how to elevate your business life to the next level. Make the commitment to moving beyond your comfort zone and really improving the way you do things. Remember, the people who will really succeed in the 21st Century will be those who are the most valuable to their clients and the marketplace in general. As Einstein expressed: "Try to be a person of value rather than a person of success." In doing so, the success will be certain to follow.
3. Health Balance
One of the most disturbing things I observe as I work with individuals and organizations as a speaker or corporate coach is the fact that when people are young, they are willing to sacrifice their health for wealth. Then, years later, when they are older and wiser, they admit that they would sacrifice all their wealth for just a little bit of health. It's like that old adage says: "If youth only knew. If age only could." Health is, arguably, your most important possession for without it, a rich life is not possible. Carve out some time every week to restore Physical Balance. Exercise at least four times a week. Eat healthy, low fat meals. Drink plenty of water and, after a stressful week, treat yourself to a massage. These activities are investments in your self and will help you be a peak performer for the long run.
4. Spiritual Balance
The philosopher Emerson said: "Without the rich heart, wealth is an ugly beggar." We all have a deep need to live for something more important than ourselves. Find a cause that you can commit yourself to. Make some time every week to serve or help those in need. Carve out an hour or two on a weekend morning to connect with the larger world around you. Spend time with nature and restore a sense of wonder about your surroundings. Think about what things you loved to do as a child and then have the wisdom to do them again. Another excellent strategy to nourish your spirit is to record all the things you have to be grateful for in a journal. Reflect deeply on the abundance in your life and regain a sense of perspective. Remember the old Persian proverb that says: "I felt sad that I had no shoes on my feet until I saw the man with no feet." Appreciate all the blessings you have and then go out into your days with enthusiasm, energy and joy. You will never be the same.
Robin Sharma is the CEO and Chief Visionary Officer of Sharma Leadership International Inc. (SLI), one of the world’s most innovative and respected leadership development firms. With a client list that includes many of the planet’s largest corporations including Microsoft, General Motors, IBM, FedEx, Kraft Foods, Panasonic, Nortel Networks and GlaxoSmithKline, SLI offers a full range of elite speaking, coaching and consulting services specifically targeted at helping individuals become leaders at work and show leadership within their personal lives. Robin is also the author of the landmark business bestseller 'Leadership Wisdom from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari' and 5 other books. For more of his wisdom visit www.robinsharma.com .