Balance, are you kidding me?

Posted 10/16/09

With all of the pressure to perform and produce, many are finding it difficult to even fathom the idea of a true work-life balance. Pressures can …

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Balance, are you kidding me?


With all of the pressure to perform and produce, many are finding it difficult to even fathom the idea of a true work-life balance.

Pressures can come at us from every angle. Our businesses, employers, coworkers and direct reports are seeking our output, input and productivity. Some days, it feels like we can’t get our hands and head around the many tasks and “to-do” lists in our professional life, so how can we possibly manage and maintain balance in our personal life?

The answer is actually quite simple, your personal life has to be the priority. So hard, just so hard for us to grasp this simple truth. We find and sometimes even look for ways to avoid it as it seems easier to make the excuse that our work is all consuming.

Even if time compression is a reality at work and it seems that there are just never enough hours in the work day to get things done, it is so important to maintain a healthy and productive relationship with your family and friends.

You see, if you can go to work each and every day knowing that all relationships are solid at home, how much more productive could you be? With no distractions or worries that the people at home aren’t supporting you, you will be empowered and energized to work even harder and with a more spirited attitude while doing what you do to support those you love and care for.

E-mails in the evening can wait until the next day. Don’t delude yourself or anyone else that you must send and receive e-mails in those precious hours that your family is together. E-mails, voice mails and reports need to take a back seat. Turn your phone off, refrain from firing up the computer, and instead spend time with the people in life that really matter. Play a game, watch a movie, find time to talk, and give plenty of hugs.

Let me tell you about hugs as they just don’t have to be the physical embracing hug, you can give verbal hugs, send text hugs, and e-mail hugs just to let those close to you know that you care and are thinking about them at that very moment. With Skype or other Web-based video products you can actually check in on the family from the office or while traveling and give and receive those virtual hugs. One of the best ways I love to leave hugs for my family is to leave notes and cards placed around the house. Simple messages of hope, love, and encouragement that keep us connected while apart. And guess what, when I travel I find these same notes from my family tucked inside my suitcase and briefcase letting me know I am top of their minds and hearts.

Well, I know this may sound contradictory to some, especially considering some of my previous columns about slaying dragons and having an operational tempo of urgency, tenacity, energy, and passion. But stay with me, what I have said here is not in opposition to my encouragement of working with a driven purpose.

By keeping a proper perspective while balancing work and our personal lives, we gain a sense of commitment and support from home that will allow us to pursue our mutual goals and dreams with such a fierce urgency and determination that we will allow nothing to stand in our way.

Thanks again for all of the e-mails, I would love to hear how you manage your work-life balance at and make it a better than good week!

Michael Norton, a resident of Highlands Ranch, is the former president of the Zig Ziglar organization and CEO and founder of


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