Every year, I travel to dozens of countries to speak with executives. No matter where I go or who I’m speaking with, three things are clear:
Having been one of those guys when I first became an Executive, I concluded that this type of lifestyle was not sustainable – I had to find a balance.
In the past few years, I’ve found ways to achieve balance in four, interconnected dimensions: Family, Health, Work, and Social Responsibility/Community.
These four rules worked for me in giving back and maintaining a balanced life, and I’m hoping they will do the same for you:
Remember that your family is your foundation. Too often we take family for granted, assuming they’ll always be there for us. That’s a good way to ensure that someday they won’t. Making time for family will remind you of what you’re working for. During that time, be sure to be fully present. Turn off your mobile devices and devote yourself completely to your relationships with your spouse, your children, and other loved ones. The rewards are priceless.
While taking care of business and others, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Between long hours and travel, you can quickly compromise your health through lack of exercise and unhealthy eating. I’ve learned that it’s best to exercise in the early morning, before life and work can give me any excuses. As far as diet is concerned, it’s easier now than ever to make healthy choices.
I look for ways to combine sport with family life and social causes. For example, when my son and I are enjoying time together in the pool, I use part of that time to work out. The Race for the Rhino event is a great example of how to combine fitness, family & friends with social activism.
I’m grateful for the education and experiences that led to the career I have today. I consider it a privilege to do what I can to give something back to the community and world that has given so much to me and my family. A measure of individual and corporate success is doing good for others and seeing how your actions, no matter big or small, can change lives.
In addition to the Rhino conservation cycle tour, my wife and I sponsor an annual Christmas event in Brazil to help people in need. We also contribute to a local program in our hometown in Germany to provide lunches to underprivileged school children. Beyond finding a cause that’s personally important to you, look for ways to continually give-back so that you are always connected and reminded of the impact you can make on the world.
Social media is a great way to involve friends, family and those interested in supporting your cause – don’t be shy with using it to ask for support!
Being dedicated to my family, my health and giving back gives me more energy and motivation to succeed in my work life. Maintaining a balanced lifestyle reduces stress levels and increases my ability to focus.
I’m often asked how I’m able to do it all and the answer is simple: effective time management. As professionals, we’re accustomed to scheduling our days for maximum productivity. Apply those same skills to community, family, and health, and you’ll find yourself among the fortunate few who live their lives in balance.
How are you giving back? Is your life in balance?
I’d like to hear more about the creative ways that you find balance.
Photo: Yagi Studio/Digital Vision/Getty Images