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. 

Close Enough

“Lots of people put in serious work for a while in pursuit of their goals,” Ben Bergeron said, “and eventually get to a place where they’re comfortable. They may not have achieved all their long-term goals, but they have achieved a good 90 percent, and they feel that they’ve checked all the boxes and are doing well enough to be satisfied.”

The people Ben Bergeron speaks of work hard. They get up and get after it day in and day out. 

The problem comes when they start seeing results. Just as growth is the number one killer of small business, results are the number one reason folks quit on their goals. 

They get “close enough” to their achievement and settle because the last little bit comes at the greatest cost. The first 80 to 90 percent is easy to work. Keep showing up and putting in the work and you’ll get most of the way there. 

It’s that last 15 to 20 percent that requires grit and perseverance. The ability to stick with it and keep putting in the work when results have slowed and it doesn’t feel like you’re taking ground.

True excellence is hanging in there and grinding through that last couple percentage points towards your goal. It is an unsatisfaction with anything less than your absolute best. 

You’re about to walk into a new week. It would be easy to settle this week and not push for that last little bit of growth. 

But you’re not interested in easy. That’s not why you’re here. You want excellence and are willing to stay the course, even when that voice in your ear whispers that you’ve come far enough. 

Setting Goals

This time of year, it’s natural to start thinking about the next year. 

Your mind drifts to all you’d like to do and accomplish. 

You make goals and set resolutions to guide you. 

Most people, however, stop right there. Nothing more comes of their goals, they remain dreams and unfulfilled hopes.

Setting goals is easy, execution is where it gets hard. 

The goals you set each new year don’t matter if you never take action on them. 

Take action on your goals.

Break them down to the most granular level possible. 

Boil your goals down to something you do daily and the likelihood of your reaching them will dramatically increase.

Setting goals is important, but while your thinking through 2018, think about the daily actions you’ll need to change as well.