Work Life Choices, Not Work Life Balance
I get asked a lot about how I balance my business and family life all the time. This happens on podcasts, in various interviews & various 1 on 1 discussions. I’m always surprised. I don’t feel successful at all and certainly don’t feel like I’ve made it. I probably never will.
Yet, I do think I’ve had a pretty interesting & fun career. But it definitely came at a high price. I’m on the road much of the year. Maybe not the 3/4 of the year when I was an executive at Yahoo! but now at least 40–50% of the time. This was the price for where I am and I paid it willingly. My answer when people ask is that I feel I am the worst person to ask about work life balance. It’s just mainly work for me. Driven by my obsessive need to win and an unending drive for social and material tangible success. Don’t get me wrong, I really LOVE what I do but it can be all consuming.
Even when I’m at home, I’m not always present mentally for my family. My head is almost always around work and business. For all intents and purposes my daughter was raised by a single parent much to my shame and regret. I’ve missed really key moments of my daughter’s life. I’ve lost out on many of the important, irreplaceable intangible things.
I’ve beaten myself up a lot for this but I’ve realized all I can do is take care of the present and future. Regret does not help but it certainly does inform. This is why I am now such a proponent of lifestyle design. Which is basically all about being more thoughtful on how I spend my time daily and weekly. These details do add up. It’s about small improvements, “Kaizen” in Japanese, famously put as “aggregation of marginal gains.”
I now focus all my time on really impactful, fun projects and initiatives. I optimize for Working with really good people & friends. I also ensure that I spend real quality time with family and friends. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s how precious our health, time and relationships really are. So it’s about time all of us really pay attention to these important areas of life.