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The Secret to Attaining Work-Life Balance

As our business grew, I started neglecting my family and friends--and no advice seemed to help bring balance. That is, until I read this passage.

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Is attaining balance really possible in an entrepreneurial environment?  Over the past six years I have struggled to achieve some semblance of balance when it comes to managing both my business with my personal life. I have read several books, and sought counseling from wise sages. None have been able to provide me with a sound strategy to achieve some semblance of balance in my life.  

This got me thinking, is balance in a start-up entrepreneurial environment really possible?  
 
The reason why I bring this up is because one of my good friends from childhood has cancer.  I went to see him a few months ago and he had just finished chemotherapy, and was recovering.  Prior to that meeting, I hadn't seen him for about a year.  

As I spoke with my friend and reflected on how short life is, I began to think about that factors that caused me to not contact him in the last year.  What it came down to was myself becoming so immersed in the success of my business that I completely lost touch with him. This got me thinking: With all of the technology we have today to simplify, streamline, and generally make our lives easier, why I can’t achieve some semblance of balance in my life?
 
First let's consider: what precisely do I mean by balance?  In my case, it's managing the growth and success of my business alongside my relationships with my wife, kids, family, and friends.   

With a good deal of self-reflection I can honestly say that I am not successful in achieving balance. I always feel like I should or could be doing more with my business, my family, and my health. Is this just the plight of the entrepreneur, to constantly become so focused on something such that you lose sight and interest in all other things.  This can't be it.  

After researching the subject and looking at strategies ranging the gamut from dedicating specific times out the month to family, friends, and health, to performing yoga three times a week, the best advice I read came from a book of fiction, Suzanne's Diary to Nicholas, by James Patterson. 

Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you're keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls—family, health, friends, integrity—are made of glass. I you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered. And once you truly understand the lesson of the five balls, you will have the beginnings of balance in your life.

That's outstanding advice.  Most entrepreneurs are deeply passionate about their work and vision for their companies. The reason why we work so hard is to be able to share it with our loved ones.  If we do not take the time to cherish those relationships then all of this hard work will be for naught.  As you focus on growing your business and the everyday challenges that come along with that goal keep in mind the phrase above.  


For my foodies and wine lovers thinking about how to better balance career and personal life, try one of the most well balanced red wines I've ever had in my life, the Lions Drift Pinotage.  It's clear, bright ruby red color encourages reflection while its full body and long finish, that includes hints of blueberry pie sprinkled with cinnamon, inspires enjoyment and a sense of balance.  

Last updated: Feb 3, 2012

KHARY CUFFE is co-founder and CFO of Heritage Link Brands. In addition, he has served as a marketer for the Procter & Gamble Company where he was responsible for a global multi-functional team.
@KCuffe




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