Question: My career has really taken off and I’m very focused on being successful. But I also am being told that I’ve become one dimensional. How can I grow my career and still be involved with the other things that are important in my life?
Answer: Entrepreneurs often struggle with balancing their passion for their businesses with their passion for their families. I faced this conundrum more than once in my career. There were a couple of thoughts running through my mind. The first was, “I’m young and I’ll have plenty of time to focus on my family – right now my business needs me.” The second was, “There is no one else who can do what I need to do to grow my business.”
For some reason I held the mistaken belief that time would stand still, and my kids would stay small waiting for me to tend to my business. And there was also a bit of arrogance in my belief that no one else could do what I was doing. Fortunately I remembered that when I was growing up my parents – both of them – attended every piano recital, basketball game and school function in which I participated. And it meant a lot to have them there. So if it meant a lot to me I figured that it would mean a lot to my kids.
What I also discovered was that I was only juggling one ball. Think about this. I was throwing one ball up in the air and watching it land in my hand. Then I was throwing it up again and watching it land . . . day-after-day, year-after-year. Eventually I realized that I needed to throw more than one ball in the air. So I began spending more time with my family. Then I was throwing two balls in the air. But I would throw one in the air and watch it land in my hand. Then I would throw the second one in the air and watch it land in my other hand. This became very frustrating. Why? Because I was bouncing back and forth between and career and family but was neglecting one while focused on the other.
Ultimately I decided that I needed to learn how to juggle many different balls at the same time. Have you ever noticed how a really good juggler never watches the balls as they land in his hands? Instead he uses his peripheral vision to keep the balls in the air and landing in his hands. This works for us too. We must establish our life priorities – family, career, friends, philanthropy, hobbies, etc., and commit to be fully present when we are involved with each. Being fully present and living in the moment is how we use our peripheral vision.
When we give our full and undivided attention to each of our priorities we can know that none are being neglected. In so doing we can have confidence that the other balls we have in the air are going to be juggled successfully because we are giving sufficient quality attention to each.
This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.