I had a meeting earlier today with one of the UK’s most successful ever entrepreneurs. It was a very interesting meeting, like most meetings with people like him. What really struck me though was how proud he seemed of the fact that ‘I don’t take holidays, because work is a holiday to me’. He seemed oblivious to the suggested link between his inability to be happy in a relationship (on his 3rd and probably not final marriage) and his ‘estrangement’ from his children “who just don’t seem to understand me”. He also seemed proud that he didn’t have any non-work hobbies or interests. I cannot stop being amazed by the fact that people who are extremely successful in their professional life tend to fail in their personal life. They tend to subconsciously accept the fact that you can only succeed at one of them, and since business is what they are really good at and feel empowered by, it’s where they concentrate most of their time and energy. Furthermore, they tend to believe that just because they are able to provide a privileged lifestyle for their family, there should be no other expectations. They happily put in long hours, very long hours at the office, don’t take enough time to relax, to explore and to attend to their own and their families’ needs; they just work, work and work some more …
With two major suicides in top jobs in Switzerland these last few weeks and the death of an intern at a major bank from “all nighters” I am reminded just how important balance is in order to live a successful life from a holistic point of view. It is very important to me and I make sure I emphasize its importance to those I work with who are at the top and who are able to stay at the top because they understand life is so much more than just their bank balance. My clients take vacations, have hobbies and interests, spend time with their families – and perform at the highest levels in their careers.
In BREAKTHROUGH I talk about The Wheel of Life – with 6 spokes: Professional, Personal, Mental, Spiritual, Emotional and Physical. If any of these spokes is under or over worked – it creates a bumpy ride. I see too many execs burn out – health-wise, relationships-wise, by the lack of balance in their lives. It doesn’t have to be like this and the choice is entirely theirs!
I recommend to you what I recommend to all my clients and to my friends: take the time and make the effort to create balance in your life, regardless of how challenging that might seem at first, especially from the available time point of view. Trust me, it’s worth it!
Exercise: to get you started on this journey, I recommend you complete tools 13 and 9 found at the back of my book BREAKTHROUGH or available to download for free here.