Forget Work Life Balance

Video Transcript:

Do you dedicate enough time and energy to everything that matters to you? In your work, yourself, and your life?

A great quote that I absolutely love that reminds me about this thrill and this journey of leadership in high-growth companies. You don’t go to the amusement park roller coaster and say, “Hey, I want to be balanced.” No. You want to be as unbalanced as possible because that’s the thrill of the ride. And that’s what leadership is supposed to be: it’s supposed to be exciting and challenging.

I talk to a lot of high-performing CEOs, executives, leaders and managers. When things get really, really easy, they often get uneasy – and even get bored. And that’s not something you want. We actually want challenges and thrills. Sometimes in the middle of them, we might not be as appreciative, but at the very end – just like on a roller coaster – we’re thrilled that we did it.

So you need to really think about it, and work on this particular habit, if either of these are true:

  • Your life feels out of control, or
  • You feel guilty about not having work life balance
  • Life doesn’t feel like you thought it would, at this level of success
  • You don’t enjoy life outside work as much as you thought you would
  • You rarely or never take time just for yourself, or if you do, you feel guilty about it.
  • You’ve lost touch with the people and causes, outside of work, you really care about.

The main point in this: you’ve got to not think about this thing called ‘work life balance’ because that’s something that applies to traditional people, or people who aren’t doing things as big or as challenging, as you are in the world. And you’ve got to start thinking about those three circles of Work, Self, and Life – and what I call passion ratios between Work, Self, and Life, which I’ll explain in a second.

Passion Ratios

Here’s how passion ratios work: Time spent on something is very different than passion. Passion is when you give your best, you’re fully focused, and you’re bringing everything you can.

So imagine you have a 100 units of passion to spend in a week. The question is, how well do you allocate them between Work, Self, and Life?

I just came off the road for 10 days.  I was in the Middle East, the US, and back to Canada. In that 10-day period, 85% to 90% of my passion units went to work, 10% went to myself (in terms of my workouts and my time for myself to get re-centered and refocused to do a good work with my clients), and about 5% went to my family because I was talking to them twice a day on the phone or on Skype. So in a week when I’m traveling, 85 to 90 to work, 10 to myself, 5 to family, it works. But if I live like that every week, I wouldn’t have a family. I’d be kicked out of the house. I’d be irrelevant to my family’s life because I’m not giving them any of my best passion.

Here’s the challenge, and it’s really simple:

  • Figure out the passion ratio you’re currently at right now.
  • Look back over the last month: how much went to Work, Self, and Life?
  • Think what would be ideal when you look over the next few months: How do you really truly want to invest that best energy that you have between Work, Self, and Life?
  • Take a second now. Write it down.

In the last chapter of the book, Your Oxygen Mask First, are the tools, which are incredibly important: the master plan, which is your long-term integrated plan for your life, and the quarterly review and reset, so you look at how you did, and reset your focus for the next 90 days.

As you can see, passion ratios are part of the quarterly reset when you evaluate the quarter, and it’s the top thing – or the first thing – you pick when you set your goals for the next quarter. We all have limited time and energy. It’s all about how we allocate these passion units effectively, to make sure that we have a great life and do well in our work.

So there you have it. If you want to know more about forgetting work-life balance, and living your life through the window of passion units and passion ratios, read this chapter in the book. I’m sure you’ll find more ideas and insights to help you get better at this.