Reflecting on “Life Balance”
Photo Credit: Austin Coolidge
I often receive questions from both students and executives about the famous (or is it infamous?) topic of “work-life balance”. I first ask everyone to say those words slowly….”work-life balance”….and then I mention that the phrase sounds like you are either working OR living, and if work isn’t part of living, we may have a problem!! 😉
As a result, I never refer to “work-life balance”. I always call it “life “balance” because most of us are truly attempting to balance OUR LIVES, which (as I mention in “From Values to Action”) I describe as consisting of six “life buckets”:
- Work and career
- Family and friends
- Health (including sleep and exercise)
- Fun and enjoyment
- Being a “best citizen”, that is “making a difference” in the world
I believe anyone who wants to become a “values-based leader” needs to be self reflective and self-aware in order to determine their “life balance”.
I had a fantastic opportunity this week to enjoy real “life balance” with my youngest son, Daniel. He and I spent six days in northern Wisconsin at Camp Makajawan with 250 Boy Scouts.
It was a great time to disconnect from the constant “go-go” of meetings, calls, and emails, and focus on my son. Some folks say that “it is not important to focus on the quantity of time you spend with your children, but rather the quality.” I do not agree with that philosophy. Many children cannot even spell quality; you are either there or you are not there (let’s not rationalize, and let’s not be surprised; if we don’t spend time with the people who are most important in our lives, then how can we have a meaningful relationship with them?)
The combination of hikes through the woods, frequent meals in the “central mess hall”, building nightly camp fires together, and wonderful late night talks in our tent gave Daniel and me the opportunity to focus on what is truly important in our lives.
The best part of the trip was when we were packing up our tent and sleeping bags at the end of the week and Daniel said, “Dad, this was a great week. I cannot wait until our camping trip next year.” I also cannot wait!!