April 29, 2022
By nature, I am not a balanced person; many of us are not. If I didn’t try to work on balance, I’d work around the clock, eat candy and snack all the time.
Balance is not something that comes easily to me. So, I must work on it daily. I know that to be a better husband, father, friend, leader and active member of the community, I must maintain some level of balance. I can’t pour all my energy into a single area in my life that draws me in: my work. I must realize with work; I will never be done. I will always have “just one more thing” to address, one more item to research, one more conversation to have. Balance has to be a conscientious choice and something I continuously need to work on.
While I make this choice, I have learned it’s a work in progress. I know that this is a choice I must make every day. Some days, I do better than others. Here are some areas I address to help me make better decisions to lead a more balanced and fulfilling life: First, I write down my goals. I maintain a running list and review periodically. This document of goals and objectives is not fancy. Writing them down is a way to review, update and achieve them.
This is how I organize my goals: create major categories—faith, family, business, health and investing. I take time to really think about how I’d like to improve in those categories. What do I want to learn? What things do I need to do? What can I assist others with?
From there, I take my large categories and create specific sub-categories. I do this for every major category. Next comes an integral step. I connect the dots between the categories from my list to figure out how I can leverage the lessons I’ve learned in one area and apply them in another.
As I create and expand on this list, which will never be complete, I remind myself these goals are about me making progress. Balance and all aspects of life are about progress, not perfection. Again, it is a choice, and by making the decision to expand my horizons through a commitment to lifelong learning, I’m working at living a more balanced life.
Our lives are one big picture—each of these pieces/parts fits into the whole. When we look at the whole and make choices about how we spend our time, we can work towards achieving better balance.
How am I doing with balance? I try to exercise every morning. While I do this, I talk on phone or read my iPad or watch videos to learn as part of my commitment to lifelong learning.
I go to Mass and pause for a few minutes to reflect. I read the gospel. I’m late most days, but I’m there every day, working on balance. I always think I can fit in one more thing—one more call to make, one more chapter to read or one more project to finish. I’m an optimist at heart; thinking I can talk faster, read shorter, work quicker. I think I could drive faster saving five minutes with no red lights. I am overly optimistic and often try to do too much. I’m never going to run out of calls to make or things to read. Knowing you are a certain way, admitting your faults—this allows you to learn and grow. We are all human.
I realize I cannot be in multiple places at one time. I can’t say “yes” to every speaking event, social invitation or philanthropic request. I want to say yes to all of it. I want to be there for every person who asks. I don’t like to say no. But I have learned that I can do better when I can find balance.
There are times when I don’t realize that my efforts to focus are going awry. For example, one evening, many years ago, I suggested to my three young daughters, two sons and wife that we go out to dinner at a restaurant that’s close to where we live. They said, “Dad, we don’t want to go to that restaurant.” I pressed, “Why not?”
I’m thinking it’s the food. I’m thinking it’s the location. Off to dinner as a family we went and after about the twentieth person stopped at our table to say hello, I realized why my daughters were opposed to the place I chose.
They gave a message I didn’t understand. It had nothing to do with the quality of the food, the service or the ambiance. It was because there were too many people there I know, taking time away from our evening together. I listened but didn’t hear what they were really saying. I didn’t use that second level thinking that Howard Marks, founder of Oaktree Capital, talks about. You see, there’s a correlation between great lessons in life and investments. Adding value in investments is a lot like adding value in life. You must add value to create value. In this case, I thought I was adding value spending time out with family, but my daughters saw it differently because they knew that time would be interrupted.
Balancing is a challenge. My guess is, as much as I will try, I will still struggle. Will I ever find it? It’s progress, not perfection. All I know is that I will try very hard at finding balance because I understand my basic instincts. I’m in touch with the way my mind wants to operate. So, I make a conscientious effort to retrain that nature and nurture healthy habits through lifelong learning, through self-reflection and by keeping a priority list and reviewing it daily.
August 8, 2023
I believe in playing to my strengths, and building relationships is very important to me both in life, business and investing. One advantage is that it provides the ability to network. For many years, I’ve been told that I am effective at networking, which I define as the exchange of information, ideas and resources. At […]
June 20, 2023
Purpose, Passion and Principles Do you have a mission in life that is consistent with your purpose? Do you have a strong principled alignment of your personal and professional life? I learned that before I figured out what I wanted to do, I needed to figure out WHO I wanted to be. I am striving […]