Work life balance is real. As I write these words, I can almost hear the chorus of people repeating, “work life balance is dead.” They’ve heard it so many times, it must be true. Right?
Others are adamant that success comes at a price. “You can either have success or work life balance but you can’t have both.”
Bullshit! Allow me introduce you to Ricardo Semler, who took over Semco, his family business in Brazil (the guy in the photo on the left).
I was encouraged to read his book, Maverick, while I was studying management at university. I remember reading about his laissez faire (live and let live) style of leadership. His first order of business was to relax the rules and create a democracy. Since then he has found his work life balance and helped his employees do the same.
I know what you’re thinking. Was he successful? Semco launched into 14 years of consecutive double digit growth after they changed the rules, so I would argue yes.
I believe the most valuable lesson I learned from reading Ricardo’s book was that he would often pause before any action and ask why? He would do this three times. If he could not come up with a sensible answer three times in a row, he would abandon that activity.
Now, let me introduce you to Tim Ferriss. Tim, for those of you who don’t know, is an entrepreneur, investor and three time best selling author. I read Tim’s first book, ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ and have been a fan ever since.
I’m sure everyone gets something different from Tim’s books but for me I learned a lot about resourcefulness. We live in a connected world and there are few barriers to getting what we want.
In ‘The Four Hour Work Week’, Tim made a point that particularly resonated with me. He asked, “How much is enough?” He goes on to suggest many people have a desire to be rich but usually they want the money to buy something. I agree we should pause and ask, “How much money is enough?” You should know what you’re working towards and when you get there. Life is not about preparing to live.
Last but not least, you should know about Arainna Huffington. She is the founder of The Huffington Post. Arianna learned the hard way that success is not just about money, power and the constant theme of busyness. While she was working she collapsed from complete exhaustion, which broke he cheek bone and cut her face. She had a scare that caused her to redefine her own success.
Arianna now teaches people about the importance of downtime and sleep to our health. She’s written her own book, called Thrive, which is about creating a life of wellbeing. Just another example of a successful person who managed to find her work life balance. In fact, it’s more evidence that work life balance is not a luxury but rather it is essential.
I have given the examples above because they’re quite famous and there’s a chance you know them. I know plenty of people who aren’t famous, who still find time for what’s important to them. If you want to find your own work life balance, you should start by defining what success means to you.