Roll with the Punches


Work & Life – Did We Just Become Best Friends?


Work & Life – Did We Just Become Best Friends?



I asked a few of my teammates this morning “what is it that you would be interested in reading from me?”  There were a couple of good ideas like how having so many tattoos affected your career, but I liked the idea about writing on how to maintain a healthy work/life balance.  I’ve heard other people call it work life blend, but I like to think about it as life prioritization.  Lao Tzu, whose many teachings compiled the Tao Te Ching, once said “Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’ is to say ‘I don’t want to.’ ”

I bring this up because 2020 has been so incredibly overwhelming.  I had newborn twins last October, started at a new company in January, and have led a team through the giant roller coaster of COVID for the majority of this year–all while traveling for work.  Although I have so much going on, I still find balance in my personal, family, and work lives.  I’d like to share some of those learnings.  Perhaps they’ll help you along the way.


My family is the single most important priority in my life.  My wife, who happens to be my rock, reminds me often “remember who will be standing next to you at your deathbed”.  This echoes in my head when I think about life prioritization.  I have five young children, all of which are under ten years old, with a set of twin infants who are eleven months old.  I also travel often for work, and so I don’t get nearly as much time as I’d like with my family.  I’ve found the best way to keep close to them while having a full schedule is to schedule daily calls.  Every afternoon, I call my wife, and we chat about the day or what is going on in the kids’ lives.  In the evening I FaceTime the entire family.  We have daddy + daughter days, and boys’ nights.  During this time, I put away my phone and mute social media. This time is valuable for both me and my kids.


I’ve learned at work that it is impossible to have healthy life prioritization if you’re trying to do it all by yourself.  As a leader, your goal is to surround yourself with great people and allow them to do their jobs.  I’ve been so fortunate over the years by working on some excellent teams.  If you try to do it all yourself at work, you will throw off the balance in your personal life.  Ask for help and advice from your peers if you have a lot on your plate, and if it is affecting your life.  Perhaps, they have the bandwidth to assist you or can offer recommendations on completing the workload. It should go without saying, but this means that if your peers ask you the same thing that you should offer help if possible.  Having a solid team and balance at work will provide you with the appropriate time to spend on you and your family.


Having a full family and consuming career gives little time for yours truly, and that leads me to my next point of finding the little victories. I still have hobbies. I love movies, hiking, and playing cards. I play fantasy baseball and football. All of these things take a little time here and there, but it is time that is essential for me to maintain balance. The key with ‘me’ time, however, is not seeking it out too much and not being resentful if you don’t get it. Truly winning here is incorporating your family and friends into your work or hobbies.  My oldest son, Gray, just found a love for Star Wars, so he and I bond over the newest episodes of the Mandalorian.  Perhaps, it’s playing Candy Crush on your phone or reading books.  Find the little things that make you happy and do them too. You will never achieve balance in life prioritization without some ‘me’ time.


A critical component of life prioritization is learning how to say ‘no’.  Perhaps, it’s the result of the social media in our lives, but I find that so many people have such a difficult time saying no when it comes to extracurricular activities.  Folks just don’t want to miss out, so they say yes to everything and overbook themselves.  Additionally, our culture makes you feel that you never work hard enough no matter how many hours or days you put in.  Learn how to say ‘no’.  It was a common joke at my last company that I was the first person to leave an event. That was a compliment in my eyes. I had the ability to leave the fun event and get back to my family. I think the ability to say no extends to your career.  Stuck in a career that devalues you as a person and forces you to work eighty plus hours a week? Leave. I made a switch five years ago to put corporate retail behind me for good. I can confidently look back and say that it has been the best decision I’ve ever made for me and my family.

related articles