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Can You Get Ahead By Putting Down Your Phone and Picking Up Your Kid? And Other Metaphorical Scenarios...

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 10/11/2015 David Sable

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Do you work too hard?
Or rather...
Are you feeling that if you don't work 24/7, you won't get ahead?
Have you ever questioned the effort you put into things...wondering if it was really worth it or, worse, wondering why it seemed there was so much swirling and duplication? And then nothing?
How about this scenario - the fear of putting down your device - no matter where you are or what you are doing - just in case...just in case...and then nothing?
What about feeling that you have to compromise personal values?
Do you ever worry that once-in-a-lifetime events are passing you by?
Bad news? It's a bummer.
Good news? Join the club - you aren't alone and companies in every segment, from Banking to Manufacturing and every service in between, are beginning to feel the pressure to relieve some of the pressure.
Let's be clear - there is no entitlement, and working hard putting in extra hours, paying more attention than average, being more competitive do help you stand out...and in a wildly driven work world do - not just can - make a difference.
But let's also be clear that you can make yourself stand out, create true differentiation for your talents and abilities and drive success - by being all of the above without being a bloodthirsty cutthroat.
Look at all the publicity that Amazon got on the downside - just a few months ago and then on the upside recently.
Look at Sheryl Sandberg and Carolyn Everson at Facebook if you ever want to really understand life-work balance, and Marissa Mayer from Yahoo who took body blows on the subject.
Read about the best places to work...see if they stack up with your own experience and if you can learn from them...and apply those learnings to your own life and situation.
And then there are the worst places to work - documented and ranked (what isn't) - where your best intentions will not matter much, as the toxicity of the workplace is such that it will grind you down or turn you evil...I'm being melodramatic for effect...but learn from them just the same.
Personally, I struggle with all this daily.
I have one advantage in that I am 24/6, not 7 - as I have written about before - and, frankly, unplugging from the grid and grind helps me connect and reconnect with family, with friends and, as importantly, with myself.
But that in and of itself is just not enough.
What about the rest of the week?
Am I paying enough positive attention to everyone around me?
Am I setting an example of how to balance life and work?
Am I able to be aggressive enough in business without crossing the "tool" line?
Am I helping to create a work environment that is open and collaborative and creative?
Am I self-aware of my shortcomings?
Am I accessible?
Am I unafraid of being vulnerable?
Am I honest and direct?
Do I really get it?
I should have stated this upfront - I don't have the answers...this is not a 10 ways to achieve life balance or 5 guaranteed thoughts to drive personal relationship success or get promoted in six months with my patented approach.
I have no answers - just questions and personal struggle, and based on my own experiences, the fix lies in being able to ask the questions - face the music and work hard to find your own truth.
Feel free to use my questions and no doubt you have your own to contribute...
Do I pay more attention to my texting than to my dinner partner?
Are my kids relegated to tertiary time after message answering and binge watching?
And on and on...
Look - make no mistake - you will miss some milestone dates - but the question is where do you draw the line?
You will put everyone and everything on the back burner to win that new piece of business, but the question is what do you do before and after?
You will have trouble decompressing and ruin intimate moments the question is, how often?
Many years ago - my wife Debbie sat me down and shared those very thoughts with me - and added - you also travel a lot - the only way through it, she said, was to be in the game 100% when I could - if I was home, it had to be all in - and I needed to understand that sometimes, sometimes you just have to say no - you can't go; you can't do it; you can't be there.
And you know what? It works - you learn that all of the crises you think you are having pass; that an hour or two of focused time is worth a week and that most people respect you for having balance, and if they don't? Move on...because the real leaders, the real people, do. And those are the ones you want to be with and drive success with.
Bottom line?
Be brutal on yourself - ask those questions - the key is to know when you have lost balance and to catch yourself before you fall...
There are consequences all around here - make no mistake...but that's what will separate you from the crowd - make the consequences work for you - don't be afraid of them...and, yes, you will make mistakes...
But here is the thing...listen:

It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. J. K. Rowling

Read about her life and that quote will come to life in a very powerful way...
So don't look for easy-solution lists of 5s and 10s...
Just ask yourself the questions you don't want to hear and be brave enough to answer.
Like I said - I struggle every day...
And then it happens - in my case it was my daughter and son-in-law giving us a little girl - their first and our fourth grandchild - and when I tell you that nothing else mattered when I held her...believe me...nothing else mattered.
Yes...I shared the news - I did all the social stuff - but somehow life is once again in clear and perfect perspective - at least for a couple of days - but what more can you ask?
What do you think?

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