For years, I thought I was a horrible entrepreneur and an even worse mother.
I knew how to make money, but it always seemed to come at a cost. I either made money, or I spent time with my family, but rarely did I get to do both.
There was a lot of talk about work-life "balance". Trying to get all your competing demands to even out - like the scales of justice or something.
I've mentioned before that work-life balance is a myth - at least in that form. But something still tugs at that emotional string that tells us we can have it all, doesn't it?
It did for me.
I wanted to be able to spend time with my kids, live an inspired life, and still build my Noble Empire. I didn't delude myself into thinking I could make big bucks while I slept, or have a four-hour work week. What I wanted was a way to equalize the competing demands of family and work.
The Five Key Areas of Success
It took me a couple of years of tweaking, testing, and tweaking some more, but I eventually developed The PEACE System - a tool which gives me great peace of mind when I'm planning and prioritizing my day.
But what really helped me get my priorities in order was coming to understand what I call The Five Key Areas Of Success. Here they are in no particular order:
- Faith - what you believe in matters. Strengthening your faith (in yourself or something greater than yourself) is a requirement if you're going to maintain your sanity while you live on this rock.
- Family - and that includes friends who are more treasured to you than those distant relatives you only see at a family reunion.
- Fitness - of the mental, physical and emotional kind.
- Fortune - the wealth you create in all areas of your life and work (it's not JUST about the Benjamins).
- Freedom - the choices you make - and the consequences of those choices - that make life worth living.
I've learned over the years that if you neglect any one of these areas for too long, it starts to decay (or die). In some instances, if you neglect an area long enough, it will, quite literally, kill you.
Each day, my goal is to take 15-20 minutes to clarify my goals around these Five Key Areas. I look for just one thing I can do to strengthen or focus on each of these crucial parts of my existence. Rarely do I go more than a day or two without doing SOMETHING to affect positive change in each of these areas.
And that "something" doesn't have to be a big thing. Sometimes one activity can "kill two birds with one stone" so to speak. For the past four years, I've been arranging my priorities so that I have a sense of peace and balance in my life. Not like the scales of justice, but more like a beautiful bonsai tree, or the ebb and flow of the tides. Sometimes I put a lot into one project so that I can breathe easier in another area, and vice versa.
That's what real work-life balance looks like to me.