Today, I want to talk about an issue that is relevant to everyone.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur, like me, or work for a Fortune 500 company.
We’re going to talk about balancing the different aspects of your life.
For the longest time, people have struggled to walk the line of career versus family, faith, and hobbies.
Countless books and articles have been written, trying to answer if you can have everything you want with your career, yet still have time for the other important things in your life.
You have to understand what your goals are, and what you’re willing to do to reach them.
Everyone has dreams and milestones they want to accomplish in life.
The problem comes from having no direction, and not understanding what you’ll have to do in order to make your goals a reality. I firmly believe that having no plan to reach your goals will lead to regrets later in life. Setting satisfying goals, and executing the proper plan is critical in order to achieve your faith, family, and career goals.
Here’s a good example.
A self-employed person wants to make a $100,000 a year income. Currently, they create websites and only charge $25 per hour for their time. In this circumstance, this person currently makes $50,000 a year. Not a bad living.
However, in order to reach their goal of $100,000 a year the person has to make a change in their current routine to make their income goal a reality. The self-employed person isn’t charging enough per hour to make their goal of a six-figure income.
Here’s the challenge: in order to achieve their income goal, are they willing to raise their prices (sacrifice)to $50 or even $100 per hour, or will they work additional hours to make up $50,000 in order to attain the income goal of $100,000?
In order to make your goals a reality, you’re going to have to make sacrifices. You’ll need to make some changes to reach your milestones, or create new goals if you are not willing to make the necessary changes.
Don’t get bitter or disappointed when you don’t achieve the goals you set for yourself. There have been plenty of people in life, some very successful ones, who set incredibly high goals that took a lifetime to achieve. But you do have to set goals in your life, in order to get what you want.
Set realistic expectations and be okay with them.
The expectation I set for myself was to put aside everything in my life when I was young, so I could focus on building my company.
I set aside things like starting a family and college. That way I could afford the family and life that I wanted to give them later in life. I also made the difficult decision to drop out of school to be my own boss.
I committed to remain single until I had reached more financial security. I didn’t want to start a family, only to leave them in the dust of my career ambitions. I knew if I tried to start a family, they would suffer through the rough patches. I was willing to put myself through working long days, sleeping on floors, and living in friends basements because I wasn’t generating enough income in order to simply live. But I wasn’t willing to put a young family through this, so I sacrificed and remained single.
I wanted to have a family. But I realized I would have to make sacrifices in the beginning, so I could spend time with them later in my life. It was a time of hard choices. Instead of settling down and getting married, I chose instead to work my butt off, from the ages of 18-25. These are the years most young adults are partying, playing video games, playing the dating field, etc.
But I was different. I was all business, and I don’t regret my decision.
Now that I have a family, I’m faced with new choices. These choices aren’t right, or wrong, they’re just different. For example, I’m torn between spending more time inside our growing business, so it can become bigger and be more profitable, or spend time with my wife and three kids (fourth on the way!).
If I wasn’t married, and didn’t have kids, would my business be larger? Of course it would. And if I was putting every available minute into our company, I would be putting an extra 50 percent of my time into the company instead of my family.
That extra time would have made the company more profitable, but I wouldn’t be happy. I wanted to have a family, and I am willing to sacrifice our business taking longer to grow versus ignoring my family and being consumed only with work.
You need to take a step back and evaluate the way you’re living your life today. You need to set the expectation with yourself, first, because the decisions you are making today will impact you in five years, ten years, and even twenty years from now.
You have to ask yourself ‘what’s my life going to look like and would I regret anything?’ Is there anything you want to change? If there is, make the change! If you can not make those changes, then move forward without any room for regret.
Hindsight is 20/20. You evaluated your situation and you made the best decision you could with the knowledge you had at that given moment. You can’t fault yourself in the future for a decision you made in the past, armed with present knowledge. If you are honest with yourself, and have realistic expectations for what you want out of life, you will be able to prioritize your time accordingly.
You will never be able to dedicate your time into one goal, and your passions into another.
I’ve found it’s really hard for people juggling all their priorities.
Managing things like life, family, work, and faith, everyone struggles with it, and it’s never going to change. You will always be walking a shifting line when it comes to giving enough attention to all the important parts of your life.
I firmly believe you can have a career and a family, and that you shouldn’t have to give up one or the other. However, it’s give and take. You’re going to have to be giving and taking of your time and energy from one area into another.
Another thing I had to decide on was playing sports and hobbies.
Sports are a huge part of my life, and I was afraid if I didn’t play sports while I was still in my 20’s, and only worked, I would regret it later in my life. I ended up becoming involved with some sports teams, not crazy-competitive, but enough to keep me satisfied. I realized I would have to give up some of the time I would spend with my family, and my work to make time for my sports. I committed to one night a week for some extracurricular activity, that would satisfy me.
I want you to evaluate your passions now, and decide if you’ll regret not making time for them ten years from now.
Life is chock full of seasons, constantly swinging and changing your priorities, and that’s okay.
I think that balancing all your priorities is similar to a swinging pendulum.
There have been times where I felt like the business was going well. My wife and I are getting enough time, as are my kids. For just a brief moment everything is perfectly balanced, and then it slowly begins leaning towards one priority more than the others.
It’s like I’m spending so much time with my family, that now my business is suffering, and things are being missed and it’s hurting the company as a whole. I need to refocus, so I’ll talk with my wife and begin spending more time at work.
Then, business will be great, but my family is suffering, and I need to refocus again.
You will never have everything perfect, but that’s okay. Life is about seasons. You’re constantly going through seasons.
It’s not a cop‐out. It’s just recognizing that you need to continually be aware that you should try to improve. I can often tell in my gut, that an area of my life is suffering more and I need to spend more time there.
Knowing what you want in life is very, very important because once you figure out what you want, it will help you figure out what you need/can do to structure how to live your day, your week, your month, your life to achieve it, or at least give yourself a real chance at achieving it.
I believe I will have to swing back and forth on the pendulum of balance until the day I die. It’s going to be a constant juggling act where I’m never good enough, but that’s not a depressing state. I’m super happy with my life. I’m super blessed to have what I have. I feel the same with my business. But I also have a mindset that drives me to do more, and that’s super important.
Realizing there’s always room for improvement and shifting your goals to make sure your priorities are being met is how you achieve balance. It doesn’t have to be a drastic change either. Maybe this year your goal is spending an extra 30 minutes a day without any distractions with your spouse and kids, or you’re going to go for a 2-mile walk, two times a week to improve your health.
Making those changes will help you create harmony with your life, and assure that you find joy in the fact that you’re meeting your life goals.
Over-communicate with your loved ones and business partners.
Picking the person to share your life with is one the most critical decisions you can make.
You will always need to be connected. You will have to be in constant communication, letting them know what your goals are and what you’re willing to do to reach them.
Whoever you’re in a relationship with is going to have to understand what measures you want to take to reach your goals, whether it be working long hours, traveling for your job, or even being deployed in the military.
Discussing things like this with your partner opens up a door of communication, and will allow both of you to be happier in your lives together.
A recent example comes from my own marriage.
My wife received a scholarship to attend classes to be a certified lactation counselor to help brand new moms learn how to breastfeed. It’s something she’s passionate about, being we have three kids. I’m super proud of my wife and even prouder to see her pursue her goals.
During the week of her course, a huge opportunity presented itself to me, in the form of a unique speaking gig at a large conference. For me to speak at this specific conference, as the CEO, was something I couldn’t hide from my wife. I needed to communicate with her that I really needed to go. I was also on the hook to be at home that week to watch our kids. But now I’m obligated to attend this conference, and it will be a huge value for our company.
Needless to say, we talked about it. She wasn’t all that happy, but I had to be transparent with her and communicate the benefits to both our company and our family. Her goals are just as important as mine. After talking, I had a solution: I offered that if we couldn’t find someone to watch the kids, then I would stay home. She didn’t want that either, because she understood that value of me going, but I wanted to assure her that her passions are not always secondary. Luckily we were able to line up some friends to take care of our kids, for that brief situation.
I believe that these are the conversations and points that strengthen a marriage. The ability to talk through things, be reasonable, and compassionate to each other.
I had to be open to making a sacrifice from this one business opportunity, in order to fulfill the other priority of my wife’s happiness. You will always face hard choices of where to spend your time throughout your life, whether you’re self-employed, an 8-5 shift worker, or the president of a company.
The takeaway for balancing your life.
To be successful in your life doesn’t mean you can’t have a relationship, a family, start a business, and be involved in sports.
The reality is you’re going to have less time for each of those areas, and it’s going to be a harder and it might take longer for you to achieve your goals. Be aware of that, and have proper expectations.
Don’t be afraid to reevaluate what you want out of life, and never think you can’t find professional success and relational success. You can. You simply have to approach things differently and set some solid goals.
You can choose to 100% commit to your career and maybe even become a billionaire, but are you going to be ok with the high probability that you don’t have a significant other, or have struggling relationships. If you can say yes, go for it. Just don’t be surprised that if/when you get there, if you’re unhappy because you really did want those other things.