Note: This is a bit philosophical with some motivational Vlad sprinkles. Perhaps it’s a collosal waste of your time and bandwidth but I hope it helps some of you find motivation and inspiration that what you’re doing is indeed right and good.
Over the past year there has been a lot of talk about the balance between your personal and professional life. That the two are separate entities to be balanced and measured. The whole work-life balance sounds great on paper but I wonder if I’m the only one that sees the tone a little too dismissive and judgmental.
For the explanation of the life-work balance from a religious standpoint, take a look at this blog post by Arlin Sorensen. My buddy Karl Palachuk wrote a lot on the subject in his book Relax, Focus Succeed and on his blog. But for the lazy ones in the bunch, the concept of life balance has a wiki page.
So.. Dear balancers.. why so judgmental? Literally every piece I’ve read on the subject so far is trying all it can to portray hard working people as irresponsible, anti-family greed work mongers who are doomed to die alone with a cat and a wall full of work achievement awards.
God, I hope not.
Here is how I feel about it:
I write this blog for the entrepreneurs. For the people that break their back to see their vision come to reality. For people that sacrifice personal time, sleep, vacations and savings to turn crazy business concepts and napkin drawings into ways to help people, make money and help further others along what they enjoy – and what they sacrificed to earn through school, college, internships and hard work working from an entry level job on up.
We’re trained from very early on that you can achieve anything you want if you just work hard enough for it. I’m certainly an example of that. I know thousands of people like that as well, not just entrepreneurs either.
We’re taught that there is a progression – that work itself is a part of life, that career development and personal development are not separate entities requiring separate times and infinite segregation.
Your work, and it’s accomplishments are a part of who you are.
You don’t go to work to escape your home life. You don’t count the minutes of work left until you can escape your work jail and go home.
The true American dream is loving what you do, working hard at it and that the process itself yields to happiness and prosperity.
Now, here is how I really feel:
It seems to me like the whole work-life balance is a self-help concept designed to help people cope with the feeling that they’ve wasted their life chasing something that didn’t pan out and they want to warn the workaholics among us that if we do the same thing they do we’ll end up miserable.
Today I even got an email that quoted a finding from a research/study:
“Marital happiness is far more important than anything else in determining personal well-being. If you have a successful marriage, it doesn’t matter how many professional setbacks you endure, you will be reasonably happy. If you have an unsuccessful marriage, it doesn’t matter how many career triumphs you record, you will remain significantly unfulfilled.”
I told my wife I’m quitting my CEO role in favor of working for a McDonalds across the street so I could spend an extra hour with her which would make our marriage more successful.
And I do as well. Would you like toknow why? Because there is no study published by slackers who barely push 40 hours while bitching about how much they hate working. How come? Because that insightful research is published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics under the title “Unemployment Statistics” and it sounds a little something like this:
“Hard working, passionate people wanted. Half-assers need not apply.”
But you can bet your butt that you have a job because someone sacrificed a ton of their time and resources to give you one. If you’re a business owner, remember that everyone has a choice and that they worked very hard for their money to part with it for your service.
So life-balance folks…
Do us all a giant favor and don’t be so dismissive of us insane folks that love what we do and consider it an immovable, undetachable part of who we are.
We’re happy that you find happiness, peace, or even absolution in suggesting that hard work is bad and that everything must be in balance.
The rest of you..
Don’t ever let someone tell you hard work is bad or that you’re a bad person for pursuing your dreams.
Don’t listen to people who are pretentious enough to think they know anything about you, your family or what makes you happy.
Make that decision yourself.
And then earn it. Because you know what – unless you’re going to start spewing semi-criminal garbage and call it a 3 Hour Workweek, your prosperity and happiness are dependant on how bad you want to earn it.
And if I may be so bold to suggest that your family will still love you, still respect you as a provider (be a man or woman), still support you in the personal fulfillment that comes from being a valuable person in our society and your community…
Go out there, give it all you’ve got and kick some ass.
All the awesome things we take for granted have a foundation in hard work and sacrifice.
How amazing is the work you do? How many things do you enable?
Don’t for a moment allow someone to suggest your work is an affront to someone else.
Don’t ever allow anyone to suggest your hard work makes you a bad person or cheats your family.
Think of your life, and everyone in it – what would it look like without you? Does what you do make that life better? Benefit everyone around you? Your goal on this earth is to enrich and benefit whatever you’ve just envisioned – and no, that is not wrong. Or embarasing. Or shameful.
It’s just your life. Live it in guilt and shame over everything you aren’t doing, or be thankful and happy every morning you open your eyes and can work on making it a great one.
Because… you know… there is a reason they say: Have a great day. I hope you do, every single one of them.