BALANCE IMPLIES A ZERO SUM GAME. IF I GIVE HERE, IT TAKES AWAY FROM THERE. IT CALLS FOR NEGOTIATED PEACE TREATIES
“Honey!” she yells.
A man steps into the hall, toothpaste foaming from his mouth.
“Un-huh?” he grunts.
“Does this look ok?”
“Yeah, looks great. Where are you going?” he asks.
With a puzzled look, she begins to realize that he has forgotten, again.
“It’s date night,” she says.
“Oh, I thought I told you,” he begins, “I need to
re-schedule date night because tonight is the only time the board can meet. Can we plan for Thursday?”
“No, we cannot,” the woman blusters. “Your son has a basketball game. And aren’t you supposed to be the assistant coach?!”
“Yeah, well,” he mumbles.
“Don’t ‘yeah, well’ me, Mr. CEO. You need to get some balance….”
Oh, struck a chord with you, too? Good to know I’m not the only one. You want my take? Balance, shmalance. It doesn’t work; out with the dinosaurs; fuggetaboutit.
Let me see: As entrepreneurs, we take ideas from the air, form dreams around them and then struggle like crazy to create a foundation for them, build a framework in which they can survive and hopefully flourish, all the while maintaining some archaic notion of balance? I don’t think so.
Since I’ve never had an original thought in my life, let me proffer a suggestion gleaned from former YPOer Scott Martineau who no doubt had it passed on to him as well. Forget balance. What we need is a blended lifestyle.
Balance implies a zero sum game. If I give here, it takes away from there. It calls for negotiated peace treaties on the home front: “I promise I’ll take Saturday off if you just let me work tonight,” or, “Sorry I couldn’t take Friday afternoon off like I promised. Here’s my AMEX. You shop, and we’ll have dinner together.”
I, for one, tire of that type of banter. A blended lifestyle means that we are the same person at home and at work, a much more fluid dynamic that allows us to just “be” no matter what the activity. For me, it looks like this:
I get up early, around 5:45 a.m., fix myself a mug of single drip and jump on my laptop.
In the hour before the rest of the clan
wakes up, I clear email, issue directives, map out the day and set in motion a whole series of to-dos for my team. I then eat breakfast with the kids and occasionally take them to school. If someone calls my cell, I return the call as soon as I drop off my children.
Since waiting for results can seem like watching water boil, around mid-morning, I work out and I think. This “think time” for me is invaluable. I subscribe to Voltaire’s approach: No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thought.
After a quick bite, I’m back in the chair with new directives to issue, emails to answer, deals and calls to make. In the mid-afternoon, I go to my kids’ soccer practice, ballet class, whatever. I check in at the office again before dinner, catch up with international friends then enjoy the family meal and read to the wee ones before bed.
Finally, I make a call to Australia where my JV partners sip their first cup while I nurse a stem of Pouilly-Fuisse. Business resolved, I catch the tail-end of Sportscenter to sound like one of the in-the-know-guys the next morning, and then I’m off to bed.
From the time I wake to the time I fall asleep, I am me. I work. I play. I father. I direct. My life is one big stew. And to make a great stew, forget balance. I say, blend a little.