Bob’s Ramble: Seeking Balance in Life
Call me strange (you wouldn’t be the first), but I enjoy work. Like many of you, I could work many more hours per week than what would be considered healthy, but while the feeling of accomplishment is important to me I’ve found ways to add some balance.
A wise man name Russ once explained to me that, in his opinion, the secret to finding happiness in life is finding balance with three major components: Family, Vocation (work) and Avocation (what you do for yourself). I got the family part quickly, as I’m one of eight children and my wife and I were raising our “smallish” family of five when he explained it to me. He said, “Family is easy to understand but often easy to lose touch with. We are so focused on our Vocations (work) that Family frequently takes a back seat.” It was true for me at the time, and still is a struggle with all the travel and hours I put in to help grow the Invoice Cloud enterprise. As much as work slices into family time, for most hard workers it probably slices into our avocation time even more. What we do for ourselves gets “short shrift” for many of us because the squeaky wheels of work and family drive us to respond to those life pieces more than we drive ourselves to grow personally.
He explained that unless you maintain balance among the three “pieces of life’s pie” enough that each was progressing (which I read as growing), you will not be as happy as you could be. It makes sense. If you spend so much time on work that you cannot devote the time your family needs or time you need to grow in your hobbies, you will not feel complete and even the area that is getting most of your time will suffer due to imbalance in perspective and lack of empathy.
So, to be at our best for our families, for our work and for ourselves, we need to work at finding time and energy for all three in the balance that feels right to each of us. Russ taught me that I shouldn’t feel selfish for exercising, playing sports, listening to music, reading and writing. These were things that were part of my avocation and if I didn’t pursue and grow in those areas, I wouldn’t be as effective and positive as I could be for my family or at work.
My last ramble stressed the importance of time and our use of it. One way to help maximize our well-being is to use that time building balance between our three key life pieces: Family, Vocation and Avocation. It’s not easy, but life can be great when all three are well balanced.