I am writing this sitting in Fukuoka International Airport in Japan, as I wait for my flight home to Australia. I have been visiting my daughter who lives here with her husband and little girl. My daughter is also expecting another baby.
I work as a business consultant and have clients all over Australia. So, while I have been playing Dad and Poppy, I have also been working. I have been keeping up to date with emails and doing some thinking. I also had one client meeting via video link (zoom.us) after which the client reflected via email how it was a great session which really helped him focus on his business. I also had a 90-minute sales call with a prospect with whom I have been relating for several months. During our session, he decided to engage my services (which is for me a sale that pays for my trip 5 times over). I have been relating to my website designer about changes to my website and a whole new marketing plan I am implementing. I find travelling and staying in hotel rooms is a great time to think. I am taking notes for upcoming blogs and my second book which will be written later this year.
Did I mention I came to Fukuoka via Malaysia where my step-son and I climbed the highest mountain in SE Asia (Mt Kinabalu 4095.2metres)? This has been on my bucket list for over 10 years. My wife and I enjoyed our quarterly holiday in Kota Kinabalu, after the mountain climb. She went back home with our son, and I travelled on to Japan. On this trip, I have also read a novel by one of my favourite authors (Daniel Silva). I have eaten some great food and seen some amazing places. I have connected with my other children and grandchildren via facetime. Each day I have averaged over 12000 steps and I have played lots of games of ‘Words with Friends’ on my phone.
For me, this is all about living a life where my work serves my lifestyle. It takes some planning and discipline to make it happen well. When I am home I work hard. But I always make sure that I am making progress across every area of my life, not just in my business. The benefits are huge.
Work-life balance is a myth
It has never been about work-life balance! Anyone who is passionate about their work will find balance an unhelpful concept. In fact, I believe there is no such thing as work-life balance. It is a myth. To be successful there are times you have to put your head down and work very hard to complete a project or finalise a deal. The work-life balance idea can make passionate high achievers feel guilty because they are meant to stop thinking about work when they are at home or at a movie or out with friends. High achievers can have a business idea spark anytime. In a busy season they are thinking about that difficult email they have to send while they are reading a bedtime story to their child. For high achievers this is normal.
The challenge is to make sure you do not allow work to dominate everything that is precious in your world.
Ignoring work-life balance is increasingly dangerous
People who are passionate about their work usually have clear business goals and plans. However, I have discovered that many are much less structured about the rest of their life. They expect it to just work out. Their only plan is to hope for the best. As we know, hope is not a strategy. The result is that many high achieving business owners and corporate executives have successful work lives but very chaotic and stressful personal lives.
The juggle of life is very challenging, especially in the years from 35 – 55 when you have dependent children, a partner who is seeking to further their career, health issues presenting themselves, parents who are starting to need you more, and friendships and personal growth you would like to pursue.
The kicker is that 90% of the issues that undermine and sabotage your business success come from neglected issues in your personal life.
Everyone finds the demands of a busy life stressful, but for an increasing number these issues are leading to mental health issues. TAL insurance (2015) reports that psychological injuries (stress, anxiety, depression) now account for a similar number of Income Protection Insurance claims as physical injuries and twice the number due to cancer and other diseases.
INTEGRATE is a much better word that ‘Balance’
In order to make sure I live a fulfilling life while I build a successful business, I have developed a process to assist me integrate my work with ALL that is precious in my world. It is not about balance. It is about integrating my work with all that is important in my life. In the internet age, I love that I can do that every day, anywhere in the world.
I find that my life roughly falls into 8 key areas of focus: business/career, wealth creation, life-partner, family and friends, health and fitness, personal growth and learning, leisure and recreation and looking after my physical environment (house and yard).
5 tips to integrating work with all of your life
1. Do some personal development work on yourself. I love helping busy people do this. Fulfilment in life starts with self-respect. You need to regularly re-clarify what you want from life. And make sure you live true to your values, build on your strengths and guard your weaknesses. It is important to be secure and confident in your own skin.
2. Map your world. Establish a boundary around all that is important to you. This assists you to overcome your FOMO and say ‘No!’ to other things that are less important
3. Set goals across your life – set one or two goals with clear plans each year for each of the 8 key areas of your life
4. Develop a ‘whole of life’ plan for your life and track your progress every 90 days
5. Learn to co-operate with your natural life rhythms so you can ensure you always have energy for when you need it. This requires knowing yourself well and being courageous enough to set some margins (space for you) in your world.
If you will do these things, you will find that you will have increased health, energy and capacity
John Drury is a Business Mentor based in Sydney, Australia, who works with busy high achievers (business owners and corporate executives) to assist them achieve sustainable business success AND create a great lifestyle for themselves and their family. John is also in demand as a keynote speaker, and author of ‘INTEGRATE – why work-life balance is a myth and what you really need to create a fulfilling lifestyle’. To connect with John go to www.johndrury.biz and follow him on Twitter @JDBizMentor and Instagram @JDBizMentor