Abandoning Balance

Achieving balance in your life sounds great. The way it’s talked about, you’d think that if you could perfectly balance your time you’d experience peace like never before. I’m no different. I envision a life where I get everything done, make everyone happy and never feel stressed or hurried because I’ve got this time management thing down. And just like you, I’m never going to get there. It’s just like the stories I read to my son each night, a fantasy that will never come true. A perfectly balanced schedule is impossible. 

Abandon balance as a goal. It’s not going to help either of us get more done. 

One glance at the pages of any history book tells the story in full. They're filled with story after story of meaningful lives rarely characterized by balance. Look carefully and you’ll see men and women who tackled the challenges before them with passion. They didn’t expend their energy trying to balance forty different things, instead, they gave their all to each part of their life. 

What are the things you’re passionate about? You wife? The kids? A project you’re working on? A side hustle you’re building? What would it look like if you allowed your passions to drive you instead of the mythical creature called balance? 

I’ll confess, I don’t have all the answers. This is still a new concept for me, and I’m working to understand it more fully. What I want to share with you today, however, are a few things I’ve learned through this process.  

  1. You have to decide how you’ll spend your time before other people do it for you. 
  2. Time management is life management. 
  3. Every time you want to make progress, you’re met with some form of resistance.  
  4. Balance is a bad pursuit - it doesn’t feel like an advance, it feels like a retreat.
  5. People who accomplish significant things aren’t balanced people, they’re passionate people.
  6. The passion you bring to your work, brings glory to God regardless of what you do. 
  7. You have the same amount of time as every other person in history. 
  8. Not all hours feel equal. Energy levels wax and wane throughout the day. 
  9. Do what you’re best at when you’re at your best. 
  10. Schedules are a good thing.  

I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking the answer to getting more done, is working harder. It’s my default setting. Whenever I meet resistance, I put my head down and push harder. It rarely if ever ends well. Burnout and breakdown are usually its side effects. Hard work isn’t a bad thing, but it can’t be all you have. You’ve got to plug into passion.  

How would it transform your life to pursue everything you do with passion? 

Let’s stop playing defense by pursuing balance and go on offense by engaging in every area of our life with passion. I’m still learning how to do this, but love the shift in mindset it brings. Going on offense is so much more fun than sitting back and playing defense. 

Showing up isn't enough

Even bad employees and teammates show up. 

To stand out, and reach your goals you’ve got to do more. 

You must give everything you have to make every moment of your day the best it can possibly be. 

Squeeze every ounce of potential from each minute of your day. 

Every moment is a growth opportunity. 

You can use it to build a better, stronger and healthier future or not. 

Ask yourself what should you be doing right now to maximize your abilities and improve your results.

Are you respecting each minute of your day, or wasting a few?

Go all in and leave nothing on the table. 

Have you done the reading?

Failing to do the prep work for your chosen field looks bad. It's unprofessional.  

Even more absurd is acting like you have it all together without having done the reading. 

Reading is doing the hard work of preparing to be the best. To understand those who’ve come before. To be familiar with the latest thought. It’s caring enough to put in the time and thinking things through. 

The problem is that this approach requires two things above all others: hard work and discipline. 

It’s far easier to skip out on the reading and pretend you know it all. 

It’s even worse to replace reading with sarcasm and snide remarks. 

Do you know what your reading must include? Are you aware of what’s on the list? Do you understand the ideas, arguments, and history you need to know? 

If you won’t take the time to do the reading, why expect others to take you seriously? 

Discipline does the reading and in so doing helps you take that next step forward. The step towards professionalism. The step towards being your best self.