We’ve all heard people talking about work-life balance, and: How are you supposed to have it? It’s a choice. Let’s talk a little bit about work-life balance versus the hustle, that is you hear people saying: “Work smart, hustle, keep going,” etc. and then you have these other people trying to tell you about work-life balance. Let’s take a look at the two, because there’s really a lot to each story.
First, work-life balance, as defined by Wikipedia, it’s listed as a concept including the proper prioritizing between work, which they include as career and ambition, and balancing with lifestyle, meaning health, pleasure, leisure, family, spiritual development/meditation. So what does that all mean? I’m not going to say that one is better than the other, but I am going to say that whatever you make as a choice, it is your choice. Don’t be jealous of the person that hustles and doesn’t have a proper work-life balance, but has a lot of success in whatever they’re doing. That was their choice, you choose something else. That’s okay. But it’s just we each have our own priorities.
Now, if you want to have a little bit of both, that is you really want to have that work-life balance as well as be very, very successful, the only way you’re going to carve out that bit of extra time is through better time management. Go to www.LifeUnsettled.com/time and get some of my suggestions there so that you can get more time out of life. But I’m not saying you have to do that either. These are two really important topics to think about.
One of the reasons that life-work balance comes into play a lot, some it has to do with the fact that you should have fun, and that’s good, but a lot of it has to do with pressure. Just like you have the pressure to hustle, you have the pressure in a sense to devote more time to your family, more time to other things/activities that you’re supposed to be involved in. In either way, there’s stress going both ways. Where does it all stem from? Many years ago, not too many, but many years ago there was that one person in the household, usually the guy, (almost always the guy) who was working and he was supporting the family. That meant that whatever school, house they bought, place they went, whether they had a vacation or not, what things they were able to get, how they were able to live was all determined entirely on how he performed, and everything that he did at the job he was captive at in order to get the most income he could to provide for the family the best he could. The pressure was all on him.
Then what happens is, and sometimes it’s featured in movies and you see the movie shows some guy that: “He’s not putting in his time with his family. His kids are less involved with him, they don’t appreciate him because he’s never around.” Part of that is the job of the female in this case (right now it can be switched around; it can be the guy staying home and the woman working), but in either case, the one who is staying home, it’s part of their responsibility to make sure that the kids understand what’s going in, why dad has to work late, etc. and that yes, he would like to be home, yes, he would like to go to some game or something else. I hope he would anyway. But there are those kinds of pressures that if he doesn’t he’s not going to get the next promotion, he’s not going to get the bonus, he’s not going to get whatever.
So what you really have is a situation which society has turned upside down in essence because the pressure was all on the man many years ago that would determine everything about their family’s lifestyle, etc. Now there’s much more of dual income or in some cases, in many cases the woman making more money. That doesn’t matter. Actually, when I was in college I used to say: “Quite frankly, I am very much in favor for equal rights and all that for women.” Why? Because I want to see the women not only share in the ability to have the career and stuff, but that also means that it lessens the pressure on the men, and many some of the heart attacks will be less, and the women can share on the heart attacks too, and the strokes, and everything else. It’s part of success. It’s part of the driven business, etc., which gets back to the hustle and: How much of it do you want?
I was a hustleholic, literally. I used to work continuously, almost seven days a week all the time. I did it through undergraduate school, graduate school, when I was working later on. I just continued to do it. It wasn’t until all of a sudden one time I was in Japan I was visiting with the president of one of the Fuji companies, Mr. Ono, he was talking to his assistant, Mr. Furuno and the two of them were talking to these other Japanese executives while I was sitting off to the side at a table waiting for them, and they were talking about how they couldn’t believe how hard I worked. They were going on and on and on. They’re saying: “Gee, I could send him a question any time of the day or night, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, we always get an answer in less than 30 minutes.” He said it, repeated it again. Then he said: “2:30 in the morning, we always get an answer within 30 minutes.” Knowing the Japanese and speaking Japanese, I just turned to the side and looked at them and said: “Of course. You wanted an answer, didn’t you?” To which they got excited: “Whoa, whoa.” I had this incredibly successful meeting, but it was also a turning point in my life regarding the hustle.
I left that meeting, after the limo took me back to the hotel, I had to go for a walk I was feeling so good. Two days later, I’m on the upper deck of a 747 on the way home, halfway through second glass of red wine and all of a sudden I realize: “Wait a minute, the Japanese think I work so hard that it’s unbelievable.” We all know that they’re a little loony when it comes to work. That’s when I decided: “Wait a minute. This is definitely not good,” and I decided over that time to cut it back. Everybody knows that I still worked really hard, but not like I did at that point.
What were some of the things that I did? I realized I would have to change my career, which I did. As a matter of fact, I was offered a position to head Volkswagen of Japan and I turned it down because that would have only brought me back further and further into that lifestyle that would have even been worse on me. Each time I changed, I still worked very hard, but as I did it, I didn’t work quite like I did before. I would do things like I did and then after I got to a certain income level for the year, I would cut back and start taking time off. I would also force myself to take other time off during the year, maybe a weekend or two, but it was time off.
The key to that is you have to realize that whatever you’re going to do, just like hustling is not just about working fast and furiously, it’s also working wisely. I started to look for better ways and more efficient ways to get things done. Because you remember Parkinson’s Law: Your work will fill up whatever time is available. So if you’re doing something and you just say you’re going to do it this morning, it will fill up the whole morning. If you say: “I have to get this done in two hours,” you’ll get it done in two hours – you’ll find a way. The key is to really put the pressure on to get it done in a reasonable amount of time – that will save you other time, that will give you the ability to have that other time that you go exercise, you go with your family, you go to somebody’s baseball game, soccer game, whatever they play, concert, etc. But that is a different point of view of work-life balance than the idea of sitting back and just working an estimated amount of hours, or thinking, like in the last episode, that you’re somehow going to have a four-hour workweek and you’re going to have all this wonderful free time. You probably won’t like it.
Remember that when you’re having these choices and you’re cutting back, that is your choice. Don’t be jealous of somebody that goes and works like a lunatic and has more things than you, a bigger house, a nicer car. By the way, if they have a nicer car, do they really have a car or did they just mortgage the car and they have a big loan? If they have it free and clear, they have a car. Otherwise they’ve just rented transportation until it’s paid off. So, don’t necessarily feel that just because you see people have things that they really have them and really own them.
Right around the corner from me in this neighborhood of million-dollar homes, I came across an interesting example. I was talking to this woman, I saw her, and I wanted to give her some advice because it looked like it must have been the first house because she was trying to rake her leaves with an old-fashioned rake, etc. Her husband was off to the side. He pulled the three cars they have out of the garage. There was only two of them, but they had three cars that they pulled out of the garage, all brand new, fancy, an Audi, etc. like that. In talking to her, I said: “You could use a mulching mower.” She said: “I’m not sure what kind of mower we have. It’s just push.” She’s using a push mower because it’s the cheapest thing they could find for $100. A million dollar home, fancy cars which certainly must look nice when they meet with their friends or he goes to work, but they couldn’t afford a decent lawnmower. Instead of a blower for $70 or $100, she’s using rake the leaves in the fall. That sucks.
People may not have what they seem they have, but if they do, it’s because they’ve worked real hard. That was their choice. If you have a great work-life balance, that’s what you wanted and you wanted to have more free time. There’s nothing wrong with that either. That is your choice, but be happy with it, be proud of it. The choice of balancing life and work is personal, but has consequences in all directions. Just as you realize the differences, also understand the importance of work life balance and success. After your choice, do not have regrets; be proud of your choice and don’t be jealous of anyone that made a different choice.
But if you want to start a business, if you want to have a business, if you want to be an entrepreneur, you may have to do that hustle for a while first. Get yourself well established until you can develop and define what your work-life balance is. It will rely on you and a partner working jointly, cooperating and supporting one another. Absolutely imperative.
Thank you. Good luck. If you have questions, send them to me. I’ll be glad to send you a PM reply. It’ll be private. If you want it, that’s fine.