When we live out of balance we will tend to have multiple areas of our lives that are suffering the strain of neglect and are therefore teetering on the edge of crisis.
As soon as a crisis occurs, be it self-inflicted or externally generated, we suddenly become focused on the crisis, because that is simply the nature of how we react to crisis. While we are dealing with the crisis at hand, the multiple areas that were teetering now become neglected more severely, which tends to create more crises. It becomes a domino of crisis that leads people to be constantly in a state of crisis management, going from one crisis to the next.
As you implement the principles you learn, you will completely eliminate self-inflicted crisis and the idea of crisis management from your life. You will experience, as I have, that there really isn’t too much crisis inflicted on you externally. This paves the way for a more joyful, more fulfilling, and more productive life.
Life balance, by my definition, is participating fully in all the important roles in life. In our lives we all have many important roles. We might be a businessperson, a parent, a spouse, a child, a student, a teacher, a coach, a mentor, a player, the head of a household, and more, all simultaneously. I will help you zero in on all of your roles and the importance of being efficient and effective in each of them in the next chapter. When you have a role it typically means that your actions will be directly and indirectly affecting other people.
Life balance, by my definition, is participating fully in all the important roles in life.
Each and every person that you affect through your various roles has an element of dependence on you, whether you are aware of it or not and whether you like it or not. This means you have a responsibility to perform in your role to the best of your ability, or there will be undesired consequences for yourself and for those with whom you are interfacing. Balance is absolutely crucial to efficiently performing in your roles.
Let’s look at the saga of “Fictitious Bob” as an example: Bob has the role of breadwinner and the role of father (he’s got many more roles than this, but for this example we’ll just work with these two). He works long hours at his job as a sales manager for a construction supplies company, leaving the house at 6am and getting home most evenings at around 7:30pm. On average he entertains clients about twice per week, and on those evenings he gets home around 10pm. Bob’s son, John, who he loves dearly, is a 14-year-old boy in his first year of high school. The first year of high school is a huge adjustment for a child (as I write this I have a son who is a sophomore and a daughter who is about to enter her freshman year) and John’s encountering all kinds of new influences in school, as well as struggling with a variety of new emotions, feelings, and thoughts. John needs his father’s help and support right now. In his mind, he has no one to talk to about things like girls, fears, peer pressure, etc. The challenge is that Bob is not available.
Bob is so busy with his role as breadwinner, that he’s not showing up for his role as father.
Bob is so busy with his role as breadwinner, that he’s not showing up for his role as father. A boy John’s age needs a father to be available whenever he has issues. He needs a father to help him feel significant. (2) A father, who is only there for him occasionally, for John’s purposes, is almost like no father at all. Bob, as we have seen by his schedule, is not home at all for practical purposes a few nights a week, and other nights he is home physically, but mentally he is still thinking about work. Even when he is home, he is not truly available, and seems distant and content to relax and watch television. After a while John starts making many decisions, not in light of fatherly advice, but based on his own wisdom, which is the sum total of his limited life experiences. Or, worse than that, a male figure, most likely a friend, begins to be the male influence that factors into John’s choices. Does Bob really know what kind of friends John is spending time with? No, he is not involved in John’s life enough to know. Before you know it, John is involved with alcohol or drugs, is having sex or skipping school. When Bob finds out, he is shocked. How could John do something like this? He has always been such a good kid! Society sees John as a troubled kid and at the same time sees Bob as a hardworking father who is doing the best he can for his son. In reality though, John is a teenager who needed a father’s guidance and couldn’t get it. Bob, on the other hand is seen as the underappreciated father who “works so hard to provide for his boy, and look what it gets him!” In truth, Bob only works hard at his job. He isn’t working hard at being a good father. This has nothing to do with whether or not Bob wants to be a good dad. It has to do with the fact that Bob doesn’t have balance in his life, and it’s hurting his roles and those affected by his roles outside of his job. This role challenge is directly affecting the life of his child. The ironic thing is that Bob, like most dads, would gladly give up all of his business prosperity if that’s what it took to help his son.
This has nothing to do with whether or not Bob wants to be a good dad.
A notable part of this fictitious example is that it only involves two of Bob’s roles. He has other roles that are no less important than the two I described, and those roles continue to exist regardless of Bob’s challenges in these two. The scary part of this example is that it is only fiction because I chose not to use a real person. The names are changed to protect the guilty! I also could just as easily have used “Fictitious Betty” because this type of balance issue is as prevalent for women as it is for men. I could go to the majority of the households in any neighborhood and give you a real life example of similar magnitude. I would bet that there are situations around you right now involving people you know that are examples of this kind of occurrence.
I could go to the majority of the households in any neighborhood and give you a real life example of similar magnitude.
I know this post was a little long, but I wanted to bring you the whole piece verbatim(“Live Full, Live Well” is available at www.balanceprofessor.com). Tomorrow I will introduce you to the “Time invested equals productivity paradigm.”