Balance Doesn’t Exist

Forget about balance. It’s an illusion.

Yes, you read correctly. Balance assumes that we spend equal amounts of time in each area of our life, which realistically, is impossible. I believe in harmony, in finding ways to creating synergy between the things you love to do and the things you’re paid to do (if you’re lucky, they’re one in the same!)

Try these seven simple techniques:

1. Wherever you are, be there!

2. Be creative about how you manage your time

3. Integrate various elements of your life

4. Practice letting go and holding on

5. Be intentional about who you let in your room

6. Create margins

7. Work in your flame, not in your wax

Watch the video below for a more detailed explanation.

 

What Are Your Values?

valuesYour values shape you and your career decisions more than you may realize. Before making any changes in your professional life, you may want to sit and think about what you value. You may be surprised what answers you come up with.

Your values are qualities that are important in the way you live and work. These are different for everybody, so you should be sure to answer this question for yourself and not take another’s answer. Values help us to determine our priorities, and when our actions stray from our values, we can feel the negative ramifications in all aspects of life.

To start with, we all have core values that resonate in our lives. These core values are the building blocks that all of our other values build upon. These values will be stable throughout your life, and typically won’t change based on that situation. To determine some of your core values, answer the following:

  • What career should I pursue?
  • Should I accept this new job/promotion?
  • Should I compromise in this?
  • Should I follow tradition in my family/circle?
  • What do I want from my personal life?

After figuring out your core values, you can move on to the values specific to helping you move forward in life. When thinking about new opportunities in your life, it is important to understand your values – particularly the ones that may play into the changes. To determine these values, follow the following steps.

  1. Identify times when you were happiest. Find examples from both your personal and professional lives, and figure out what factors and people played into this happiness.
  2. Identify the times you felt a sense of pride. Ask yourself, “why was I proud?” and figure out what factors played into that.
  3. Identify the times when you were most fulfilled and satisfied. What need or desire was fulfilled to leave you feeling satisfied? Why was the experience memorable, and how can you recreate it?
  4. Determine your top values, based on your past experiences of happiness, pride and fulfillment.

Each person’s experiences will help them build a unique set of values, and staying true to your values can help you get the most out of your professional life to be the happiest in your personal life.

What are some of your most important values? What questions above helped you find these values? Let me know in the comments section below!

 

The Secret to Balance

I am often asked the secret to finding balance in your life. How can you get the most out of work, life, friends, family, and all of your other activities?

Well, I’ve spent decades building a successful networking organization, and have raised a family. That being said, I have thoughts on the secret to finding balance, and the answer may surprise you.

You simply cannot have balance in your life. You can, however, find harmony, and I have three specific suggestions for how you can do it.

How do you work to find harmony in your life? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Don’t Know What You Want to Be?–Stick Your Tongue Out and Wave It Around . . .

In this video, I talk about the often difficult question of what it is we truly want to do in order to make a living and contribute to the world.

When my kids were young, I often took them to get ice cream as a treat. When they had trouble making a decision about which flavor they wanted, I told them that if they stuck out their tongue and waved it around, the answer would come to them.

As they got older and had difficulty deciding what they wanted to be when they grew up, I reminded them of their tactic for finding an answer to the ice cream flavor conundrum. In reality, I was simply telling them to experiment and feel things out, so to speak, in order to figure out what they were passionate about and what they would truly be happy doing.

The fact is, if you do what you love, you’ll love what you do.  I think it’s so important and it’s an important message for us as business people if we want to have a balanced life–a harmony, as I call it. 

So, what helpful things have you done when talking to kids or others in regard to what they want to be “when they grow up”?  Please share your experiences in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

Balance: Illusive and Elusive

When we hear the term “work-life balance” we think about trying to spend an equal amount of time in all areas of our life.  The problem with that is that almost no entrepreneur can actually achieve that. While life can’t be fully in balance, it is possible to create a life that is in harmony with your vision.

WORKLIFEBALANCE

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here are some simple techniques:

  • Wherever you are – be there. If you are at work, don’t be thinking about the time you didn’t spend with the family the night before, or what you should be doing with your “significant other” right now. When you are at home, don’t be thinking about the work you have to do at the office.
  • Be creative (about how you manage your time). If you have a big project at work that has to be done and you want to spend time with the family one evening – get creative. I used to spend the evening with the family and when everyone went to bed, I sat down to write my first book.  I finished the book without taking any time away from the family.
  • Integrate various elements of your life.  For many years I spent a couple weeks or more working remotely from my lake house. Now, I bring my staff and management team for short retreat/work days. The last week, I take off completely and spend time with the family. By integrating the two worlds I create a sense of harmony.
  • Practice “letting go” and “holding on.” Contrary to popular belief, I do not think it is possible to “have it all.”  Unfortunately, life involves making choices. Practice understanding what things to say “no” to and then letting go of them. At the same time think about the things that are truly important in your life and hold on to them with all your might.

What are some of the things you do to create harmony in your life?  I’d love to hear your thoughts so please share your ideas/tactics in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

How to Find Balance in Your Life

In this short video, presented by Applied Transformation, Inc., I talk with Roger Green about how to achieve balance in life. 

If you often find yourself focusing on business during family outings or thinking about your kid’s soccer game while you’re in an important meeting, I highly encourage you to watch this video.  You’ll get tips on  how to prioritize, be present, and achieve ultimate harmony.

Do you have any helpful tips on promoting harmony in business and life?  If so, please share them in the comment forum below.  Please don’t be shy–let’s get the comments rolling in!

The ‘Profitability Ninja’ & The ‘Samurai of Innovation’

Last week I posted the first part of a series of guest blogs sharing the article “Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity'” by Frank DeRaffele.  Below is the continuation of where the article left off last week.

“Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity'” by Frank J. DeRaffele Jr. ( . . . Continued — CLICK here to read Part 1)

So how do we save ourselves from this Ninja?  Enter the Samurai of Innovation. This Innovative Samurai (dressed in white, by the way) cuts through the creativity and reveals Innovative Thought, Innovative Ideas, Innovative Profitability.

Innovation is the good twin of creativity.  Innovation is creativity with focused and applied business value.  It knows how to see, analyze, evaluate, measure, and decide if this creative thought is able to become Business Innovation or if it will stay as Creative Waste.

As creativity is both a strength and a weakness to us as small business entrepreneurs, we must learn and develop the skill of how to take our creative thoughts and see if they can become innovative bottom line value.

A creative thought may be a wonderful idea but it has no direct relation to a solution.  Not that it is not of value, because it may have great value, but it may not be of value NOW.  When it is not of direct value, we open the gate for our Profitability Ninja to enter.  The question is, how do we define value? In its most simple form, we can answer this question by asking — Does this creative idea relate directly to a current problem that we have and will it help us solve the problem in the way we would like?

For example, let’s say you own a retail store.  You measure your success by the number of transactions you do on a daily basis and by the dollar volume of each transaction.  Currently you are very happy with the number of transactions but you would like to increase your average dollar per transaction.  Most customers that purchase from you spend an average of $55.00 (USD) per transaction.  You would really like to get that number up to $65.00 (USD) per transaction.  This means we need to look at up-selling, cross-selling, and the packaging of products.  As you start to think about this, you come across an idea of a great new way to do a direct mail piece to a new target market.  You know that if this new direct mail piece works, you will attract a new client base to your store.  This new client base is exciting because you haven’t focused on new target markets for quite a while and by expanding into . . . WAIT A MINUTE! What does this have to do with increasing your average dollar per transaction?!  The answer is . . . NOTHING.

What just happened here?  Yes, it was the Profitability Ninja. He snuck in and started you thinking down a new path.  He got you to come up with a great new idea and while getting excited about that idea, he made you forget that your real problem is Average $/Transaction . . . NOT Number of Transactions.  Do you see what I mean?  This new idea may not be a bad idea–in fact, it may be a good idea . . . however, it is not helping to solve the current problem at hand.  By not keeping your focus on Direct Resolutions to your problem, your profits will go into the red.

Come back next week to read the final installment of Franks article, “Creativity vs. ‘Innovativity,” and learn how to recognize ‘innovativity’ to maximize benefits from creativity and help your business soar. As always, if you have a comment to share, I’d love to read it so please leave your thoughts in the comment section.

The Secret to Balance

Do you have balance in your life?  Personal and professional balance in our lives seems to be the ever-elusive dream for many of us.  Trying to balance home, work, health, spirituality and free time seems almost impossible.  It is something that businesspeople have told me for years.

Well, I am pleased to tell you that I believe I’ve found the answer to creating balance in your life.   Are you ready?  Write this down. Here it is:  Forget about balance, you’ll never have it!

I can hear you now . . . “What?!  No balance?!? That can’t be!  It’s just not right!” But wait . . . there IS good news.  Although I don’t think balance is possible, I do believe you can create harmony in your life.  This differentiation is more than just semantics.  It is a critical approach to looking at life that can free you up to see the world in a different way.

“Balance” assumes that we spend an equal amount of time in all or most areas of our life.  It is like the image of the scales (see the picture at right) where everything is completely in balance and equal.  It assumes that we must spend a certain portion of each week devoted in some equal measure to every item important in our life.

Well, the problem with that is that almost no one can really achieve that.  Especially entrepreneurs, professionals and salespeople.  We tend to live such hectic, busy lives that it is incredibly difficult to fit it all in.  Women often tell me that this issue is an even bigger problem for them.

So what do we do about this?  For me, it’s about creating harmony.  Just look at the image representing harmony  in this blog (see the yin yang symbol at right).  Even the image is lopsided when you look at one aspect at a time.  But it is the whole that feels complete.  This is a way to look at the issue that has personally worked for me.  Sometimes I work crazy, long hours for several days in a row.  Or I may be on the road traveling for business for many days at a time.  On the other hand, I am a husband and a father.  I need and want to be there for my family as well as have time for myself.  Long ago I figured out that daily balance is almost impossible.  But I found I could create harmony using a few core principles.

First, three simple words make a big difference to me: “Be here now.” Wherever you are, be there.  If you are at work, don’t think about the time you did not spend with the family the night before or what you should be doing with you significant other right now.  When you are at home, don’t think about the work you have to do at the office.  Wherever you are, be there . . . fully and completely.

Second, make sure to set aside time to do all the things that are truly important in your life. Yeah, I know everyone says that, but here’s my twist:  Be creative about how you manage this. For example, when I wrote my first book I didn’t want to be holed up in my office writing in the evening and not be available to my family.  I found a creative way to find that time that was in harmony with my family time.  A few evenings a month, I’d stay up with the family, put everyone to bed and then go into my office and start writing at 11 p.m. and work almost all night on my manuscript.  I’d catch a few hours of sleep and get into the office a little late to start my day.  I’m a late-night person and this worked for me.  It may not work for you.  However, my point is to be creative and inventive in finding ways YOU can accomplish what you need to do, yet still allow yourself to spend time doing the other things in your life that bring you harmony.  Nothing pleased me more than when I showed my children the book when it was published and they said to me . . . “When did you write that?!” They had no idea I was up late working several times a month.  That was harmony to me!

Third, find ways to integrate various elements of your life. For many years, I have spent weeks at a time up at my lake home in the mountains.  Each year, I spend a week or two working from the lake house remotely.  Now I bring up my staff and management team for short retreat/workdays.  It is a great way to combine my work life into a leisure environment.   Then, the last week or so, I take off COMPLETELY and spend time with my family.  By integrating my two worlds, I create a sense of harmony.

Last, remember this: when you are 70 years old, you are not going to wish you spent more time at the office. You don’t need to be a workaholic to be successful.

Focus on creating harmony in your life.  Be creative.  Don’t try to do the things I do or that someone else does.  Find ideas that work for you and the life you live.  Make the time to do the things that are important to you and be innovative.  Harmony is created where harmony is sought.  OK, that’s a bit “new age” sounding . . . but it is true.

I’m very interested to hear what you think of this approach and/or what do you do to create balance in your life.  Leave a comment and let me, and others reading this blog, know what has worked for you.

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