For the past three years, since I moved from the West Coast to Kansas City for first my my Applebee’s role and then H&R Block, I’ve neglected to maintain the right balance. I wasn’t equally balanced between body, mind and soul. I didn’t have work-life balance like I should.
Like most of you, I have an incredible drive to succeed. I am passionate about what I do and I want to win. I want to win for my family, my work and me. It drives me day in, day out. I have a passion for my work that many can’t understand or many in the workforce can’t muster. I am not a “DMV” worker and I don’t leave my work at the office because that’s who I am.
Being that way has its disadvantages and the lack of focus on my weight, health and mental well being suffered. When you build social from either the ground up, or from an infancy stage, it takes a lot of effort and energy. You’re selling a vision and educating an entire organization. You’re fighting outdated legacy mindsets. You’re fighting organizational atrophy and that’s a hard, hard road.
When faced with those challenges, you get hyper focused on the end game. You hike through dung and insults and backbiting. You don’t have time to worry about your physical state as you channel your energy and focus to your head. There are sharks in the water and if you don’t mind the path, you can find yourself devoured.
That’s where I was this summer. I was 68 pounds overweight, exhausted, pre-diabetic and staring down the barrel of a gun. I was in a danger zone and I didn’t even know it. Or did I?
When your doctor starts talking about how your life could be shorter and that you don’t really want to die young on your five kids, you press the pause button. When he tells you the complications of diabetes and you’re still a relatively young man, it scares the living hell out of you. Sometimes, when we’re so driven, we lose focus on the most important things. We sometimes forget you can’t win, succeed, laugh, love and breathe if you’re dead. That’s where I was. So I changed the game. It’s been hard but I am feeling better, more focused, and more driven than ever.
I share this story because the myth of “all or nothing” is a myth. You have highly successful entrepreneurs who tell you that you don’t need to sleep. That you can sleep when you’re dead. They might be right, but no matter what your line of work, you need balance. Do you need to work harder than the next guy and work your ass off to succeed? Of course you do. But if you don’t have balance, you can lose your marriage, your family, your health and then you have nothing.
No matter how successful you are, if all you have is your job and your career, you’re destined for a lonely existence. Don’t be destined to be alone. Find the balance, take care of yourself and take care of your friends and loved ones. After this job, and the next one, they’re all you have. Don’t sell out yourself and your well being for money, success or that promotion. All of those things will come to you if you focus on balancing your life equally.
Mind. Body. Soul.
Put as much into them as you do your job and you’ll do just fine.