Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. – Albert Einstein
When my son was very young, he would give me the same advice as I left for work each day: “Goodbye, Daddy; have a good day at work. Be sure to drink your water, eat your lunch, and make new friends.” Without realizing it, my son was encouraging me to live a balanced life. I always thought his farewell each day was far more insightful than just a small boy’s simple advice. In fact, it’s a great way to think about life balance.
People Are Multidimensional
There are many ways to understand and dissect the topic of life balance. My model consists of three focus areas: body, mind, and spirit. Others use health, wealth, and friends, or work/life. The U.S. Air Force has an outstanding approach to balancing the demands of work and life in their Comprehensive Airman Fitness Model, which takes the familiar mental, physical, and spiritual dimensions and adds a fourth, social. Additionally, there’s the familiar Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs”.
No matter how you slice up the facets of the human person, the takeaway is that humans are multidimensional. Therefore, we all should be deliberate about developing our whole person and not just one aspect. Each person has a body, mind, and the intangible part of themselves called a soul or human spirit. There is more to every person than meets the eye.
Well-Rounded is Fulfilled
Being a well-rounded person means trying to determine what motivates and fulfills you, and then intentionally working to harmonize those very personal needs with the needs of your family, team, or workplace. It’s more than a mere transaction; leaders must recognize that their team is more than names on an organizational chart. Each is a person with needs and aspirations of their own, who have come together to do a job for their own reasons. As individuals, we need to understand our personal engagement with those around us is just as important as our self-awareness.
The companies consistently rated “best to work for” seem to understand that idea. Those companies provide benefits that let the employees know they are valued for more than just their contribution to the bottom line, but also valued as people. In each case, the employees at the top-rated companies enjoy their work environment; the benefits provided are a bonus. The companies that treat their employees as whole persons, with more than a single dimension, are the ones who get the most engaged and involved employees, in return.
Remember Those Simple Words
The next time you look at yourself in the mirror, stop for a minute and remember the words of my then four-year-old son: “drink your water, eat your lunch, and make new friends.”
Living life balance is challenging. There are a lot of demands on a person’s time: work, family, friends, hobbies, etc., and finding time to feed all aspects of the body and soul is key to any successful life. Anyone can put their head down and power through life, however, it takes a mature person to understand that how you live is equally important as what you accomplish. Keeping our lives in balance and living an integrated life is important to everyone.
Mickey is a consultant, author, and keynote speaker. He believes everyone can reach high levels of performance if inspired and led. During his 30 year US Air Force career Mickey commanded thousands of Airmen, managed portfolios worth billions of dollars, and worked with military, civil, and industry officials around the world. He is a Distinguished Graduate of the Eisenhower School at National Defense University in Washington DC.
Mickey is the author of seven books, including Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating Teams, Mickey’s Rules for Leaders, and The Five Be’s: A Straighforward Guide to Life.