Better learn balance. Balance is key.
– Mr. Miyagi (character in the movie Karate Kid)
I remember quite vividly the original version of the movie, Karate Kid and the classic differences between Daniel, the frantic young boy and the calm Mr. Miyagi, his Karate mentor. A great piece of storytelling about rites of passage as youth struggles to find its place in the grown-up world.
Many people who work for a living are struggling to find their place in the world they now inhabit as adults. And the concept of Work – Life Balance is one of the most confusing. How much time should I spend focused on work and how much on my non-work life? After all, if I spend too much time with my friends and family I risk not getting ahead at work. Yet if I spend too much time at work my family life suffers. And in the current tight job market many tend to focus more on work and reduce the time spent with family and friends.
No one ever said on their deathbed, ‘Gee, I wish I had spent more time alone with my computer’. -Danielle Berry
I discovered the solution to the Work – Life Balance many years ago after listening to Jimmy Conners, one of the greats of professional tennis. For several years, Jimmy Connors was at the top of pro tennis, number one in the world. And to get to the top and stay there takes hours and hours of practice.
Then he got married and had a child and his game began to suffer. Was he getting old? Was his career over? Sports journalists were speculating on the future of Jimmy Connors in tennis. Then, he started climbing back to number two and held on to second or third for several more years. During an interview, he was asked about his drop in rank and then his move back up.
Jimmy replied, “When my son came along I started feeling guilty about not being at home and my practicing suffered. But then when I took time off to be with my new family, I started feeling guilty about not practicing enough. I wound up being bad at both! Then it dawned on me that instead of trying to find the magic balance between tennis and family (50%-50%? 60%-40%? 40%-60%?), I decided to be 100% – 100%!”
The interviewer asked him to explain because it didn’t add up. “When I’m practicing tennis (at work) I am 100% focused on tennis, not thinking about family or anything else. Then, when I am at home I am 100% focused on my family and not thinking about tennis (work). I can now be effective and find fulfilment at both.”
How many executives and employees come home and are still thinking about work hours after they walk in the front door? Not very effective is it? Not fully at home and not fully at work. And the internet, email, BlackBerrys and iPhones make the challenge even harder. Many live in the “limbo-land” of the ineffective most of the time, neither here nor there.
Try the 100% – 100% solution to Work – Life Balance. It worked for Jimmy.
Tight Lines . . .