Your Personal Strategic Plan: How Many Definitions of “Life Balance” Are There?

26 03 2013

It is no coincidence that conferences attracting executives, leaders and business owners worldwide have breakout sessions geared towards helping them find personal balance.  Whenever we finally spend the time to stop and think a bit, we often find ourselves considering a change.  I am certainly no exception to the rule.

How much time do you spend on the following common slices of life?  I mean this literally.  How much time in a 24 hour day, seven day week or 52 week year do you spend on each category of life’s focus below?

wellness pie

  • Your Mind
  • Your Body
  • Your Career
  • Your Spirituality
  • Your Family
  • Your Friendships
  • Your Community
  • Your Finances

Now that you know how you are spending your time, what happens if you wish to become “great” at any one of them?  What would happen to your allocation of time?  Is it possible to allocate time equitably or much at all while achieving greatness?

ali greatness

I think NOT!  Once the decision is made to truly excel, one’s definition of “balance” must change to allow success to be achieved.

Whenever I make a declaration, I tend to be “all in” in order to achieve extraordinary results. That is my personality.  I am an extremist who puts 100% into my endeavors.  When I am in the middle of an endeavor, that does not leave much room for equitable balance.

phelps greatest

  • When I train, I set major goals towards physical fitness.
  • When I present, I prepare and present with passion rarely seen by audiences.
  • When I diet, I set extreme standards that are nearly impossible to maintain.
  • When I implement innovation, nothing stands in my way to succeed.
  • When I love, I will do anything needed to support those whom I love.
  • When I give to the community, I extend beyond the comfort zone.

I know I am capable of doing ANYTHING.  As a successful Eye-Cubed Leader, so are you.  However, I struggle to do EVERYTHING.  I demand greatness in what I do and will not accept anything less.  And I recognize that greatness does not come unless one puts in an effort significantly beyond the norm.

When I was a teenager, a sports psychologist told me the key to success.  I wrote it on paper and stuck it all over my walls, in the bathroom and in my schoolbooks.  The declaration was:


While that sounds a bit cliché, I can tell you that it drives me to be who I am today.  But the key to the statement is the next line…a line that I was also told in my youth by my father, Stanley Sussman,  and reinforced by him throughout my life:


I recognize that if my focus shifts for any reason, I can no longer achieve the greatness I was seeking until the requisite  focus returns.  If I am in a position to self reflect, the decision to shift gears is a recognized sacrifice of which I am acutely aware.  However, reality is a bit different.  While “life” happens, I am not always aware that I have shifted gears and changed focus.  This typical phenomenon can derail anyone trying to achieve greatness.

Idea in chalkboard with yellow chalk

In the next Post, we will explore an exercise geared towards identifying our priorities and recognizing our weaknesses in our personal definition of “life’s balance”.  We need to take the time to decide our path, choose our results and pursue them with passion.




3 responses

26 03 2013
Sean McGinley

Everyone thought work was difficult, work should be fun, it is the balance of work and family that can derail the best of us. Even when you think you are in “balance” check again.

Thanks for the reminder

26 03 2013
Tom Hillier

Do you ‘live to work’ or ‘work to live’? We are all different of course but I am definitely in the ‘work to live’ camp as family and friends mean more to me than being in the office 20 hours a day. I also think that once you accept your own unique balance you become more rounded in all aspects of life.

1 04 2013

Looking forward to your next post with exercises that will help us to stay on track and check in with priorities. Great post, David!

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