Successful people who manage to find a rewarding work-life balance are those that know where their work week ends and where their weekend begins.
The common saying ‘work hard, play hard’ can mean different things for different people. I believe you can only be fully happy when you ensure your personal life is as fulfilling and enjoyable as your work. I like making the most of my spare time by travelling, exercising, experiencing new things, and simply enjoying the rewards that my work facilitated.
A recent Stanford study found that our productivity sharply declines if we work more than 50 hours a week, so why would we?
Here are 10 tips on how you can make the most of your weekends/days-off and find your work-life balance:
1. Make yourself electronically unavailable
Nowadays our mobile phones can feel like an extra limb, being always attached to or near us and something we can’t imagine living without! However, you can’t switch off for the weekend if your back pocket is buzzing with new emails and impatient voicemails.
Being always on call and available to take emails prevents you from recharging and refocusing. Ideally you should completely detach yourself from work calls and emails over the weekend. If this is not feasible, then try allocating short time slots where you will allow yourself to check your calls/emails.
2. Get active
Sometimes it can be difficult to fit exercise into your busy week, so why not save it for the weekend? Doing as little as 10 minutes of exercise can help reduce stress and also spark creativity.
3. Pursue a passion
Working on something that you are passionate about at the weekends is another great way to relieve stress and open your mind to new things.
4. Chuck the chores
So there are personal chores that you need to do, but do you really need to do them at the weekend? Chores are great at sucking the relaxation out of your weekend and they usually just feel like more work. Try to schedule your chores into your week so that you can really make the most of your weekends, or outsource if possible.
5. Have something to look forward to
Making weekend plans and mini-adventures that you can look forward to will help to keep you motivated and in a good mood all week. In fact, studies show that looking forward to an event/activity plays a significant role in making it so enjoyable.
6. Have family quality time
Taking time-out to spend quality time with your family is important if you want to relax and recharge your batteries. After a busy week in work-mode, the weekend is the perfect time for switching off and catching up on quality time.
7. Keep your body-clock in check
While it may be tempting to use your weekend to catch up on sleep and have long lie-ins, this will disturb your weekly rhythm and make you feel worse come Monday morning. Sleeping past your usual wake-up time can also cause you to feel tired and groggy. Try going to bed earlier rather than indulging in lie-ins.
8. Have “me time”
If you have a busy and demanding family life then it can feel impossible to find time just for yourself. However, making an effort to dedicate a small portion of your time to do something that you enjoy will do wonders for your mood. Early in the morning is usually the best time for this.
9. Take time to reflect
In order to improve, you need to reflect. The weekend, when you should be away from the distractions of your busy week, is the perfect time to take a look at the bigger picture, see what’s happening in your industry and think about your own role and the company you work for. Thinking about these things with a clearer mind will allow you to start afresh on Monday with a plan to be more efficient in your work.
Planning is a great way to improve productivity and reduce stress. If you know that you have a busy week coming up, take the time to plan ahead. It might just be a half an hour on Sunday evening, but it will help you kick-start your week. With a plan in place you will be able to focus on what you want to achieve and feel that your workload is a manageable one.
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Developing the Next Generation of Rainmakers
I write often about career success and life fulfillment. Why? I coached over 1500 lawyers in the United States and Canada. I learned a great deal by listening to those lawyers. I learn now when candidates contact me wanting to join a new law firm.
When I first started coaching lawyers in 2005, I coached two lawyers I will call Andrea and Samantha (not real names). They were both junior partners in firms that were about the same size. They both billed about the same number of hours annually.
Andrea enjoyed a successful career and fulfilling personal life. Samantha frequently called me to say she was burning out and felt like all she did was billable work for her firm.
Why do you suppose they were having different experiences? Is your career and life more like Andrea’s or more like Samantha’s?
Success and Fulfillment or Burnout
Here are some differences and how you can apply them to find your own career success and life fulfillment.
Attitude: It starts with your attitude. As lawyers, we are taught to be skeptical. But, too often we apply skepticism to our careers. I love this Winston Churchill quote:
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
The difference between Samantha and Andrea was that when thinking about their careers Samantha frequently said: “yes, but” and Andrea said: “sure, how.” Samantha found reasons she wouldn’t make it happen and Andrea found ways to make it happen.
Clarity on the What Question: The second difference was Andrea knew exactly what she wanted to accomplish in her career and life and Samantha has focused on what she did not want to do.
Napoleon Hill, who studied successful people for over 20 years in the early 20th century, said it well:
“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.”
Successful lawyers have a clear idea of what they want and many actually visualize accomplishing it. You can’t visualize or get energy and a burning desire around what you don’t want. Andrea knew what she wanted both in her career and personal life and had a burning desire to achieve it. Because of her burning desire, she set goals, developed a plan and was not easily derailed.
Keeping Score: The third difference was how Andrea and Samantha defined success. Over the years Samantha defined success by her billable hours and money she was making. That is like a golfer looking at the scoreboard rather than the ball. Andrea found meaning and success in how she helped her clients succeed.
Being in the Zone: Finally, Andrea was in the zone in whatever she was doing. Samantha was easily distracted. When Andrea was working on a client matter, she was in the zone. When she taught at a local college, she was focused on her students. Andrea frequently left the office early to coach her older son’s soccer team. When she coached, she was in that moment and not distracted. She planned her personal life as well as her professional life. Samantha planned her billable time at the office and her time at church on Sunday, but not much beyond that. So, she was rarely in the zone and focused on the moment.
You can have a successful career and fulfilling personal life by saying: “sure, how,” having a definite purpose and a burning desire to accomplish it, finding meaning in your work by focusing on how you benefit your clients, and by focusing on the moment.
When I first began working internationally, I was elated. It was my dream to become an international business executive and travel the globe.
I loved my work, I loved going to new places, and I loved being part of something bigger than the USA.
As I roamed the world, I found that over time my delight was somewhat dimmed. For as much as I loved to experience new places, I was doing so alone.
It’s not that I didn’t have amazing colleagues to hang out with or friends to see, it’s just that I didn’t have anyone special share the adventure. I felt alive when I traveled and I wanted to experience this feeling with a partner.
My schedule was so hectic that I rarely found time to date. And my career success was intimidating to most of the men I met. Of course, they said that my success didn’t matter, but it always did.
My father used to ask me almost weekly, “When are you going to get married?”
My sister was faithfully married at the age of 21. My father and mother had enjoyed a 25-year marriage before my mother’s death.
Guess who stayed single?
- My 30th birthday came and went.
- My step-siblings found partners and married.
- My first house was much larger than what I needed, yet I purchased it thinking I would someday “grow into it” when I found a spouse.
- I even purchased an extra Christmas stocking for my would-be husband. It hung empty year after year.
As my professional life skyrocketed, my personal life was stalled. I was lonely and felt like a failure without someone to share my life.
I tried a lot of things to right-size my life.
I took up running and hired a former SMU-football coach as my personal trainer. I learned to lift weights and built enviably toned arms.
I outsourced chores and tasks to make better use of my time. I hired a housekeeper, a landscaper, a dog walker, a personal shopper, and a private driver; (I also had an amazing executive assistant at the office).
I said “no” to invitations and demands on my time that I deemed non-essential.
I evaluated job opportunity after job opportunity thinking I simply needed a career change.
I took up scuba diving, volunteered at the opera, and nurtured relationships with a few, close girlfriends.
I thought I was making the best use of my limited time.
A balanced life isn’t about MORE TIME.
It’s what you do with that time. And while SOME of the things I was doing with my time felt pretty good, I was still off kilter.
I thought I was making smart choices, yet a calm, thriving life alluded me.
I was still lonely. I was still working more than necessary. And I was still stressed and anxious A LOT.
I didn’t know how to quiet my mind.
I didn’t know how to invest in myself.
I didn’t know that I was playing small. I thought I was playing big.
And I had no idea that the answer to my discontent lie within me.
I didn’t need more time. I needed a new relationship with my career and myself.
I was running around trying a bunch of “stuff,” but I wasn’t creating change….I was just doing more stuff.
What I learned is that I had to rewire my belief of what’s possible and recalibrate the ingrained behaviors and habits that stood in my way.
I would love to tell you that once I understood this, it was easy. It wasn’t.
And it’s damn scary to look in the mirror and let go of the beliefs and habits embedded since childhood.
- I rewired my belief that work had to come first and life second. Instead, I learned to meet my human needs and give those needs that required attention my focus at any given time. Sometimes that meant work. Sometimes that meant play. And sometimes that meant caring for others.
- I rebuilt my belief that success requires sacrifice and I learned that those at the highest echelons of success can create an abundance of time to live `a fulfilling personal life.
- I learned that a balanced life isn’t about having equal time to do all the things I wanted. A deeply balanced life comes from meeting your needs using the most effective strategies available to you at any given time and knowing when you need to stop meeting one need and favor another.
- And I learned that I was flying without a compass. I had no idea about my intrinsic purpose or how to leverage my “Why” across my life. I subscribed to society’s ideal of success and I wasn’t living in alignment with my own values.
Once I learned these shifts my life irrevocably changed for the better.
I didn’t have to simplify or give up what I loved.
I didn’t have to be poor to be happy.
I didn’t have to give up my career.
As I began this journey of evolving myself…
I met and married a fascinating man (and he didn’t care two winks about my salary or career success).
I started doing some of the best work of my career.
I gave birth to two, sweet-natured boys and became present in the little moments of their lives each day.
I lost weight and stopped stress eating.
I slept soundly at night.
I began reading again and returned to my long-lost passion for dance.
And instead of living a life that was dim, I began living in full color.
Today, I am traveling the world once again. Yet, this time I am not alone. My family is right alongside me.
I teach female executives and high-achieving women how to create balance in their life without sacrificing success. If this resonates with you, feel free to watch this free presentation on how it’s done.
Note: once you register, a replay link will be sent to you if you cannot attend at the current time.
Reading time: 4 minutes
[success]Today is a new day. Don’t let your history interfere with your destiny! Let today be the day you stop being a victim of your circumstances and start taking action towards the life you want.
Over the years and probably unconsciously, you’ve adopted some habits that haven’t served you well; habits that have sabotaged your every effort to live a successful, rewarding life.
You just have to get the fundamentals down, because without them nothing works well. And you get to the fundamentals by training yourself, until they become a part of who you are.
Step out into life and live it well, and remember any brick walls you encounter aren’t to keep you out, they’re merely a reminder that it’s time to grow a little bit because on the other side, your path continues, ever more beautiful.
Begin by asking yourself in each moment, with each event, is this leading me to the best experience possible?
1. Live your own truth
[success]The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
Most people have a hard time separating themselves from the expectations of others. It’s often easier to give up who you are than to embark on the journey towards your true self. Towards your own dreams and desires.
Don’t be afraid. You can do it.
Begin by seeing your live as a privilege, not something to be endured, nor to be lived to someone else’s standards, but to be lived fully as you see fit. Dance, sing, feel joyful and relish who you are. And if you’re going to mess it up, and that’ll probably happen some time along the way, at least it’s your mess. You made the choices. Not someone else.
If you always believe in yourself, before too long others will come to believe in you too. And for those that don’t. It doesn’t matter.
Live your own truth…it’s fundamental.
2. Give up gossip
[success]Never to wrong others takes one a long way towards peace of mind.
We become what we repeatedly do. And many of us live life on autopilot where we repeat the same things on a daily basis.
This is all well and good if at the end of the day we can truly say, hand on heart, I lived a good day today, I have no regrets. I feel good about the way I used my time.
Gossip is focusing on all the things we don’t like or don’t want in our life.
Simply a distraction.
We know that it’s easier to talk about someone else’s flaws rather than look at our own but it’s taking us nowhere, except to attract into your world more experiences you won’t like. Experiences you’ll regret.
And honestly, if those flaws weren’t a match to something in us, we wouldn’t see them anyway.
Before indulging in any gossip ask yourself this question: will this conversation better my world? Will it lead to peace of mind?
Keep your focus fixed on what you want…it’s fundamental.
3. Don’t fear challenges
[success]Don’t give up! It’s not over. The universe is balanced. Every set-back bears with it the seeds of a come-back.
Don’t ever lose sight of the fact that you are magnificent. There is no small you. You are part of the divine and capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for.
Everyone experiences challenges. What matters is how you decide to see them. Whatever choice you make, this is the way your life will be.
An empowered perspective always makes things easier and even when the challenges appear overwhelming, and all seems lost, you’ll often discover that you were a winner after all.
Will you be enriched by the challenges you encounter or will you allow them to diminish you, to poison your soul. You’re in charge, the choice is yours.
If you choose to see it this way, your challenges can be the forces that propel you forward, despite yourself, and remember they will pass, but the strength and skills you acquire from handling them will always be with you.
See a BIG you and a small everything else…this is fundamental.
4. Applaud your awesome
[success]The more you see yourself as what you’d like to become, and act as if
what you want is already there, the more you’ll activate those dormant
forces that will collaborate to transform your dream into your reality.
You are awesome. Yes I’m talking to you.
You don’t have to be taught to be awesome. You’re already it. You don’t need to be taught to be unsinkable. You’re already it. Just as you’re already beautiful and worthy and strong.
You have exactly what you need to accomplish your heart’s desire, but a little reminder doesn’t come amiss. It’s time to live life on purpose, in relentless alignment with those yet to be fulfilled desires of your heart.
Get out of your own way, take that leap of faith and use the immeasurable power you’ve been gifted with. It’s time to bring your passion back to the forefront of living, to fulfill your true potential.
Stop taking any past mistakes so personally, it’s time to let go. Use them as guideposts, revealing to you the tweaks that need to be made to the beliefs you hold. Let go of any old habits of thought that say you can’t, you shouldn’t.
You can. You most definitely should.
What are you waiting for? You have everything you need to live a successful and rewarding life. Use it…that’s fundamental.
5. Notice the clues
[success]It’s all a matter of paying attention, being awake in the present moment…The magic in this world seems to work in whispers.
Charles de Lint[/success]
Every day we’re given personal cues to remind us of where we are and for the most part we don’t get the message. You are the originator of your life, learn to read the universal clues that help you to bring forth your dreams.
If you see or hear of someone who is sick the cue is to remember your health. Nurture yourself for a moment each day, because you deserve it.
If you read or hear a negative tale, it’s your cue to remind yourself how accentuating the positive feels so much better.
If you hear of another’s success it’s your cue to be grateful for where you are right now and for the continuing success you expect to see.
If your friend is having a lousy day it’s your cue to be determined to enjoy some moments in your day.
Be more aware of the clues…it’s fundamental.
Now, I’d love to hear from you. In the comments below tell me what fundamentals you’re putting in place, or anything else you’d like to share.
As always, bless you for reading, sharing, commenting and being a part of our wonderful community, which exists because you’re in it.
A life of regret is no life at all. Sure, we all have regrets for things we’ve done, mistakes made and opportunities lost. But if we make a conscious decision every day to minimize those regrets, we will lead a happier more fulfilling life. And hopefully those around us will as well.
These sixteen ways to live a happier more fulfilling life come from my past and present experiences from getting it right, as well as getting it wrong. They are delivered in no particular order.
Prioritize your time wisely.
As we all know, life moves at the speed of light. Time is our most precious asset. Wake up each day with a plan to accomplish something meaningful. Something you will feel good about when you turn out the light that night.
Build relationships over possessions.
You won’t be taking your possessions with you nor are they a meaningful source of lasting happiness. The relationships you build and the lives you impact will be your legacy.
Take what you can from life, but always give back.
There is nothing wrong with investing in yourself and your future. For pursuing success in all areas of your life. But one of the best ways to seek happiness is through service to others. Remember that giving time is more valuable than giving money.
Be accountable for your words and actions.
Accountability is the path to true accomplishment. Personal accountability is infectious and others in your life will follow suit. Always consider the consequences of your words and actions. Not doing so can be a fast track to regret.
Be disciplined in your personal and professional life.
Being accountable requires discipline. Discipline is the only way to discover your best personal self: the cross section between purpose, talent and effort. Discipline leads to accomplishing goals and avoiding bad decisions.
Expunge hate from your heart.
Life is too short. This too requires discipline. Hate will consume you, exhaust you and distract from the positive aspects of your life. Put your ego aside and replace it with humility.
Forgive yourself and others quickly.
We all make mistakes, hurt those we love and meander off the path of righteousness at times. The faster we forgive ourselves and others the more time and energy we have for love.
Put your family first.
Your family relies on you to be strong, to lead, mentor and provide for them. Making time for work and hobbies is important, but every now and then we need to remember that making more money or the extra round of golf can wait.
Find purpose in your life’s work.
Without purpose it’s hard to truly be passionate. And without passion it’s impossible to inspire and lead others. Living a purpose-driven life is the foundation of fulfillment and happiness. Find your purpose and pursue it relentlessly.
Chase your dreams and never quit.
As a former Navy SEAL, the never-quit attitude is ingrained in me forever. Just make sure you are pursuing the right “dreams” that will add value to your life and others. Dreams that are aligned with your purpose.
Pursue passions bigger than yourself.
If we don’t break outside our comfort zones and find pursuits that leave a positive impact on the world, we live a very small life.
Don’t hold on too tight.
I often find this very hard to do, but sometimes we just have to let go and have a little faith. There are things simply out of our control and we can drive ourselves crazy trying to contain them.
Lead by example on and off the battlefield.
We all have the opportunity to lead in our lives. At home, work, in our communities. But leadership requires consistency of character. Actions speak louder than words.
Protect those who can’t protect themselves.
This doesn’t mean we all have to grab a weapon and head down range. It can come in the form of a simple gesture. Don’t stand on the sidelines with your smart phone. Do something.
Strive to improve a little bit every day.
If we can attempt to improve ourselves even 1% each day, at the end of a year we will be 37x better than when we started. Improvement requires regular learning, feedback and reflection. But don’t forget to take action as well.
Leave no regrets on the battlefield of life.
As Tecumseh said in his poem “Death Song”:
“When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear death, so that they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.”
Take a few minutes each day to reflect on how to practice these tips and see what happens!
How to Find a Career to Support and Fulfill You
Success in life isn’t just about a job that pays well. For most of us, success is about finding a career we love and thrive in.
But with thousands of possible career paths, how do we know what the perfect choice will be for us both now and in decades to come?
If you want to know how to find a career that you love, this guide will tell you how to pick the perfect path for you, whether that’s your passion in life or the financial stability you crave.
Table of Contents
Review Your Personal Qualities
Gone are the days where you speak to a school career advisor to decide what you want to do with your life. Nowadays, the smart option is to begin your decision-making with a self-assessment.
There are plenty of online self-assessments, such as the Myers-Briggs test. These will help you analyze your strengths and weaknesses and guide you on the type of career that best suits your skills and personality.
Understand Your Passions
The perfect career is a balance of having a solid talent in that field and a passion for what you do. If you are passionate about your job, you’ll never experience the Monday blues.
However, it’s not always obvious what our passions are, especially before starting a career in earnest.
If you aren’t sure, ask your close friends and family how they see you. Think about activities you have done in the past that you have enjoyed so much you overlooked time ticking by.
Research Career Paths
What is your end goal? Some career ideas might look like great starting points and maybe an attractive salary, but don’t forget to think about your long-term goals and ambitions.
So if you start looking at specific jobs such as a personal injury lawyer, work back from that. Look at the broader aspects of a legal career and different paths that will get you to your dream role in the future.
Explore Entry-Level Jobs
If you want to get into a specific field, are you prepared to do the hard work you’ll need to get there?
The best way to answer this is to take a close look at entry-level roles in your preferred career. Get specific and read job advertisements and take a close look at what the job entails.
Ask yourself if you can realistically see yourself doing this every day, and not just doing the work but enjoying it too.
Learn and Discover
When you are genuinely passionate about a career, the desire to learn becomes second nature.
Don’t limit yourself to traditional methods of learning such as training courses or university subjects. There are ample opportunities to learn about a topic or a career in today’s online world before even stepping foot it in.
Buy a book on a related topic to learn more about the subject or speak to someone in the industry about doing a day’s work shadowing in your chosen career.
How to Find a Career You Love
Knowing how to find a career you love is a balance between learning as much as you can about a job and knowing what you are genuinely passionate about in life.
It’s also about having a good understanding of your own personal strengths to pick an area you will succeed in.
For more careers and business advice, check out our business section for our latest articles and posts.
At some point in our life, we’ve all asked the question, “Is this it? Was I put on this planet just to pay bills, work long hours and never have enough time in my busy schedule to have fun?”
If you ever felt like the opportunity to live a fulfilling life was passing you by, you are not alone. A few years back I remember feeling this way soon after I received a significant promotion. Although the new assignment came with more money and a better title, I no longer did the work that I was passionate about.
On top of feeling dispassionate, the job required longer hours. Longer days impacted quality family time, gym days became infrequent and my eating routines fell by the wayside. This is not what I envisioned as an ideal way to live my life and new I had to make a change. I’m sure you can relate to a time in your life when it felt like you were going through the motions with little room for passion and reward.
I often hear people say, “Once I get the ________ (raise, promotion, house, car, etc.), then I’ll be happy.” This way of thinking couldn’t be further from the truth. It actually prevents us from living life to the fullest.
However, the exact opposite is true. Focusing on creating a more fulfilling and happier life will actually increase our pay grade inside and out. Sound too good to be true?
Research has shown that satisfaction and fulfillment are key components to a successful career. Optimistic thinking leads to increased performance and accomplishment which sets us up for a more prosperous career.
Our brain performs best when we are in a positive mindset. When we feel optimistic about our future, we are more energized, focused and better problem solvers. On the other hand, when we are consumed with our problems, we are drained of our focus and energy needed to perform optimally. High performers add more value and thus take home bigger paychecks.
Living a meaningful and fulfilling life goes way beyond the monetary gains. It centers us on becoming the best version of ourselves. Leading a happier life allows us to show up more fully at home, work and in the community. As a result, we show up more powerfully as better parents, spouses, friends and employees.
It’s never too late to start creating the life we want. We all have the power and everything needed to alter our destiny. The key to doing this successfully is letting go of all of our inhibitions so that we can start working toward building a life that we absolutely love every day.
If obstacles are getting in your way, here are five ways I used to start creating a more fulfilling life:
1. Keep Healthy– A healthy mind, body and spirit is key. Treat yourself to the gift of your own attention by eating well, working out and meditating. All will help you increase optimal functioning.
2. Leave Your Comfort Zone– Seek out new opportunities. In the process, your confidence will increase allowing you to take more healthy risks. Transformation only happens beyond your comfort zone.
3. Stop Complaining– Complaining reinforces a negative state of mind and offers no solutions. Take ownership of your happiness. Next time you feel frustrated, take a few deep breaths and focus on something positive.
4. Show Your Gratitude– Write a thank you card, pick up the phone, volunteer or send someone a book they would enjoy. Tap into your heart and let others know how much you appreciate them.
5. Be Valuable– Instead of focusing on your personal success, focus on being of value. Bringing value to a relationship, business or community increases abundance and fosters reciprocity – the more you give, the more you receive.
Are you ready to create a life where you wake up energized and excited about the day ahead?
You have everything that it takes to create a life complete with happiness, abundance, and fulfillment. Looking back that promotion actually was an opportunity in disguise that transitioned me to a life beyond my wildest dreams. You can do the same. These are five ways that will help you on your journey in achieving your own happiness and fulfillment.
Most of us business leaders have a time in our lives when we just feel out of whack. Specifically, we feel like we’ve lost that sense of work-life balance. We know we may have been putting in too many 80-hour weeks in a row, and we can feel the side effects of making that kind of commitment. The crucial question then becomes: What are we going to do about it?
I’ve found that the best CEOs are always striving to find balance in their lives. That’s what makes them great leaders and good people. And certainly we all need to put ourselves out of balance for a while, when, for example, we’re in the middle of buying or selling a business. You know heading into that transaction that you’re going to go out of balance. But the trick is to be conscious about that and know what you are sacrificing in the bargain. Then, once the deal is done, you should have a plan to get back into balance as quickly as possible.
So what are the secrets great CEOs use to live a balanced life? They measure themselves on seven key elements, where they give themselves a score from 1 (way out of balance) to 10 (Zen-like harmony) to see where they stand. I’m not sure I have ever met anyone who has scored a 10 on all seven elements, so a more reasonable goal might be to find balance with at least half of these parts of your life.
1. Physical health.
Whether you are a CEO or just a go-getter at work, it’s easy to let things like exercise and diet go by the wayside once things get busy in the office. But the body you have is the only body you’re going to get, and it needs to carry you until the end of the game. That’s why it’s critical to continue to keep your body strong and healthy enough to enable you to do the things that excite you–whether that’s traveling for business or visiting your grandkids. The key here is to be fit enough that you don’t have to say “no” to anything you want to do. Give yourself a score–be honest–and see what you think. Could you do more to improve that number as a way to begin leading the kind of balanced life you’re seeking?
How balanced do you feel with your family time? What’s your relationship like with your spouse? Your kids? How about your parents and extended family members? Family ties are the tightest relationships you should have in your life, no matter how busy things get at work. If you give yourself a low score here, it’s worth hitting the pause button to make the investment in repairing these relationships. Family members are truly part of your support network, and you’ll never miss them more than when you’re at your lowest point.
Do you have a robust network of friends or not? Do you have a group of folks you hang out with regularly, maybe for a book club or to go play soccer? If not, it’s time to start building these kinds of relationships. Having people around you that you like and trust is one of the best indicators of living a long life. If you are sacrificing relationships like these because you’re working too hard, you’re clearly not in balance.
What does your personal financial balance sheet look like? Are you on a path to accumulate enough wealth that you will be able to enjoy a comfortable retirement? Are your assets increasing over time–or have you neglected to make the time to tend your financial garden? The key to personal financial health is to feel in control and know that you have enough money to have options. If you’re working too much and you don’t have the money you need, something is clearly missing in the equation.
Whether you are running your own business or climbing the corporate ladder, ask yourself how energized you are to go into work every day. Are you excited to be making a difference and making progress–or do you dread the monotony of your day-to-day drag? Or, if you own the business, how are things going: Are revenues and profits growing? Some of us who are high achievers might never give ourselves a 10 here no matter what. But it’s worth measuring how all that time you are investing in your work is paying off.
How much time are you able to invest in the things you care about in your community? That can mean anything from volunteering to serving on the PTA or coaching a sports team–anything that turns you on when you give of yourself. Think of it as your attitude of gratitude. If you haven’t made enough time to give back, you’re missing out on a real emotional payback, because you are rewarded by the act of giving. And the key here isn’t just signing checks–time and talent are the real gifts.
The final aspect of living a balanced life is your spiritual side. This could be anything from taking a walk in the woods to making a trip to church on Sunday–whatever fills up your spiritual cup. This is how we renew ourselves when we’re down–and it’s something that can be easily neglected. If you score low here, make the time to rethink your connection to God, nature, or whatever. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle the world.
Finding balance among these seven elements isn’t always easy. But I’ll share a cautionary tale of what can happen if you find yourself out of balance for too long. Early in my career, I worked for a CEO who was a business superstar. But everyone, including his family, loathed him. He may have been a success in the element of business, but he had no friends, his kids wanted nothing to do with him, he was on his fourth wife, and he was spiritually bankrupt. Some people might look at his track record and call him a success. I would disagree. How can anyone be a great leader when they can’t even balance their own life? When someone lives such an unbalanced life, no one wins.
If you want to learn more about other characteristics other great leaders share, check out my forthcoming book, Great CEOs Are Lazy, which is available for sale on Amazon.
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Your career is an integral part of your life because you spend most of your waking days working to earn a living. Just as it is crucial to do what you love in order to enjoy your career, having the necessary skills to perform the work is also critical to achieving success in your career line. The other component that can help enjoy long-lasting success in your job is to have the soft skills needed to work along with others and enhance your productivity. Soft skills are your attributes or characters that enable you to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people in your organization. They include such qualities as good communication, team spirit, curiosity, and ability to exert influence in the organization.
Having the right experience and qualifications will help you land the job, possessing the essential soft skills will take you further ahead of your peers and help you have a fulfilling career life. Your experience and qualification tell the employer what you can do, they are your hard skills, and it expresses your intelligence quotient based on the assigned tasks. Your soft skills, on the other hand, is all about attitude and personality, it expresses your emotional intelligence. During job hunt, your I.Q will help get you into the company, but your E.Q will help sustain and help you grow in the company.
Here are my top 5 essential qualities needed for a successful career:
1. Curious Mind
Having a curious mind will help you to learn as much as possible about the organization, and you will be able also to contribute that knowledge for the success of the company. With a curious mind, you will be able to take the initiative without waiting for your boss to tell you what to do, come up with creative solutions to organizational challenges. Creativity enables you to experiment with different ideas without being afraid of making mistakes; it empowers you to question certain assumptions and ways of doing things and propose better ideas that can potentially become a quicker or less expensive means of executing tasks.
2. Excellent Communication skills
You must be an effective communicator in order to collaborate with others to achieve organizational objectives. Communication, in this case, can be verbal, non-verbal or written type, but you need to know how to pass across your message, rally round your team towards a common goal. Good communication involves explaining, persuading, motivating, and providing plans for executing tasks. For written communication, don’t hit “send” immediately after composing an email. Take time to reread and make edits if necessary to ensure that your message is clear, concise, and it will convey the right intentions.
An excellent communicator must also be an active listener. You must be effective at listening to others, knowing what they want so that you can effectively articulate your response to their requests and eliminate noise or communication gaps in your messaging. Having the skills to decode and deliver ideas and information so that the message recipients can easily understand and act is critical as you advance to roles with greater responsibility and visibility in your organization.
3. Influencing Skills
Your ability to influence people and lead change in your organization is very crucial for your success in your line of career. In most organization, you work in teams, and most of the time you may need others to perform certain tasks in order to advance the organizational objectives. Your ability to work with them, influence or persuade them to work on those activities is essential as you deliver results within the organization. You need to have the necessary leadership skills that will help you to make them accept your ideas and bring people together to execute on the idea. It is about being able to sell your vision and plans and get people to believe that what you are telling them is the best and right way to move the organization forward.
4. Courage & Confidence
Everything begins with confidence, and confidence is essential to driving solutions for your organization. If you have confidence, it will be easier for others to believe and listen to you as you work with other employees in your company. Confidence involves knowing your areas of strength and weaknesses, and it can help to inspire trust and build confidence in your ability to lead. Along with confidence, having the necessary courage to make decisions and follow through on your plans is essential for a successful career. The fear of making the wrong and making a mistake has kept many people from coming forward with their opinions in an organization. Courageous people are different; they understand that mistakes provide a learning opportunity and it helps to develop them to make a better decision next time around. Confidence and Courage are great soft skills to have if you want to be successful in your career.
You are employed in the organization to get things done. There will be no benefits to having all the right peoples’ skills if you are unable to convert it to results that will help achieve the organizational objectives. You must know how to challenge yourself to deliver results, influence others within and outside your organization to execute so that measurable results. To deliver results, you must be a team player, always looking out and contributing to the success of your team. If your team is successful, chances are, that you will also achieve success as an individual.
To achieve success in your career, you must be able to develop both the hard and soft skills required to get your job done, be able to collaborate and work effectively with your team, so that everyone is working harmoniously towards achieving organizational objectives.