“I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your personal life is in shambles.” – Zig Ziglar
How do you define success in your life? It’s not a trick question, and there’s no right answer. Everyone has a different vision of what a successful life looks like. What matters is 1) making sure you understand what your vision of success is, and 2) doing something to make that vision a reality.
That seems pretty simple when you read it, but we all know it’s not. We all allow ourselves to be pulled in a lot of different directions, and many of those directions take our lives away from the balance we want. So what can we do about it? Try this:
1) Figure out what matters to you. People talk about “work-life balance”, but that’s way too simple. There are numerous key areas in your life and they all have to fit together. For example, I’ve learned that for me, work, family, physical health, mental health, spiritual health, financial situation, and social activity all have to be in balance for me to feel good about my life. Maybe those seven things are the same for you. Perhaps you’d trade one or two for something else. They’re certainly not all of equal importance. The point is there are lots of things that have to be right for you to have balance, and you have to understand what those things are for you.
2) Figure out what “balance” means. So you understand your key areas that have to be in balance. Great – but what is “balance”? What kinds of things have to happen for you to have balance? For example, take physical health. When I ignore that area of my life I find myself being tired, lethargic, short-tempered, etc. I’ve found that when I exercise in the morning before I go to work, my energy levels are higher all day long. And the less sugar I eat, the better I feel (I can’t believe I just admitted that). Think about your life. When those key areas of your life are in balance, what kinds of things are you doing? What are the activities in your life that are indispensable to staying balanced?
3) Do something about it. It doesn’t do you much good to know what you need to be balanced and then not do it. If you know you need to attend your kids’ music program to feel good about your family life, then do it. If you know you need to give up dining out every night to feel good about your financial situation, then do it. Make that vision of your life a reality.
One last thing: there are a lot of people out there who would say they don’t have time for those “balancing activities”, or they have too many other things they have to do instead. Here’s my response to that: You’re wrong. You are in charge of what you do with your life. You don’t have to continue to fill your life with things that make you unbalanced. Whatever you’re doing that’s keeping you unbalanced, you’re doing because you choose to do it. In the rare case where big parts of your life really are beyond your control (think: terminal illness), you still have choices about what to fill your life with. It’s always your decision. Make the most of it.