Originally Published Here
If you are like me, you’ve probably been through all the different seminars and training in your career that always emphasizes the ‘work life balance’ and how we all need it.
The thing I find ironic about this message is that none of this training or information from seminars really told us how to get that balance, but only that it’s important to have it.
So how do you know if you are out of balance and more importantly, what would you do to really get back into balance if you found that you weren’t? The solution is different for each of us, but I’ll tell you a bit about my story of how being out of balance affected me and how addressing it has transformed me into the successful person that I am today.
I started my first real corporate IT job after taking night classes to get my bachelors just before the big Y2K scare. I spent much of my time in that job coordinating application testing and tracking defects in software that only had “two-digit” dates vs “four-digit” dates. Tons of fun, but I was just thrilled to have that white-collar job after being a laborer for many years.
I look back now and at the time when my family really needed me when I was working so much, I can honestly say that I was not fully present. My wife seriously needed me during those first years of my corporate employment due to some health issues, and I put my concern for my work ahead of her and was not present when I should have been. My daughter needed me to take care of her special needs since she has a disability, but instead of focusing on her and being present, I was worried about what my job would think if I took time off and focused elsewhere.
What kind of heartless animal had I created in myself with this job?
I can truly say that one person in my life at the time, the very person that hired me into the job that was affecting my life so much, was the one who helped correct it. Yes, my boss at the time noticed the real change in me over the years, knew that I was struggling with my balance and offered to take me over to the corporate gym to get some exercise, he felt it would help me. He noticed my weight increasing, my attitude being more aggressive, my number of work hours increasing and me spending more time on the phone with my wife trying to sort out the things that just weren’t right at home. But me? Exercise? I hadn’t done ANY exercise since high school, I didn’t know what to expect or whether I could actually do it. And more importantly, I couldn’t imagine there was life outside of my work, that is how out of balance I truly was.
After slowly building up my exercise routine with my boss from riding a stationary bike, to jogging and to running, I found out how much it actually changed me back to the person I always was. The time I spent exercising was not all about the physical aspect, but also about the mental aspect, where I was able to get that time with myself to think and focus on my priorities by just being away from the work that I loved, but was ultimately destroying me.
I found that even 20 years later, it still takes work to build that balance into my life, finding different things like exercise, vacationing, family activities, etc to keep that balance where it needs to be. We all have to find it once we know we need it. In the busy world we live in, with emails, all the social media, the high pressure jobs and the needs of our families, we need to take more time than ever to just stop, and get away, to find that balance.
I can thankfully say that I have since been forgiven by my family for those times and we are stronger than ever, and been fortunate enough to achieve my masters degree, hold several other corporate leadership jobs and then successfully move out of corporate America into small business ownership at the same time as building my athletic career to be a finisher of dozens of marathons and 6 Ironman triathlons. This story isn’t about celebrating my success though, it’s truly about showing the value and benefits of finding that something “outside” of a job that helps put life in perspective and to keep it there.
Here are the benefits that I personally feel when I work to keep balance in my life:
- I constantly recharge my brain, remember that the brain is a muscle and needs to be recharged!
- My creativity is maximized after a period of exercise and time away from my business.
- My physical health is better and my stress level stays low
- I feel more productive
- I have new perspectives on everything. Being away and keeping the balance helps free my mind to envision new ideas and options.
You don’t need to complete Ironman triathlons or marathons in order to get this feeling of being your best, you only need to take the time to recharge, in whatever way makes sense for you.
So in the same way my former boss pointed it out to me that I needed to find balance, let me be the one to point it out to you. If you feel that you are not focusing on your priorities in life, or that some aspect of your life feels off, I urge you to stop and find the balance. Your natural being and those in your life are craving for you to just be present, and the benefits are amazing.
Have you lost or found your balance? I’d love to hear your story, please share it with me by commenting below, emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting my website at www.getsuccessunlimited.com …
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