We all strive for work/life balance and it often seems like a distant dream. The demands of work are endless and we know we can’t accomplish everything even if we work 24/7. For some reason, we still keep trying to clear our inbox and “to do” list every day while shortchanging our personal lives.
There’s a great article, Work vs Life, Forget About Balance – You Have to Make Choices, in this month’s Harvard Business Review. The article is based on five years of interviews with over 4000 executives worldwide and a survey of 82 executives in an HBS leadership course.
You can read the entire article here http://hbr.org/2014/03/manage-your-work-manage-your-life/ar/1
The results are very interesting with many varying perspectives of personal and professional success. In the interviews, the executives agree that you need to define what personal and professional success means to you. What I consider personal and professional success is unique to me and may be very different from your definition of success.
Men consider professional success in terms of providing for their family. They feel it’s their job to provide income which provides family security. In their mind, this justifies the long hours they work and the lack of quality time they spend with their family. I’m not sure if I agree with this perspective but most male executives share this belief.
Women rarely view themselves as working for their families the way men do. Women view their role as modeling for their children. It’s important for women to be viewed by their children, especially their daughters, as competent professionals. Women also don’t consider financial success as a barometer of their career success while men place a high value on financial success.
The article explores many other factors in detail but my biggest takeaway is that you have to define what success means to you and create the life which lets you focus on what’s important to you. The bottom line is you have to make choices and sacrifices in your personal and professional life. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but it’s really hard to have your cake and eat it to!
Ive struggled with work/life balance most of my career. I walked away from successful corporate positions twice because the expectations of the job was affecting my health and my relationship with my wife and family. I have no regrets leaving jobs I loved because it gave me the freedom to spend quality time with my family even though it meant temporary financial setbacks. I’ll always choose my freedom over making more money because my family time is my highest priority,
What’s important to you? What are your work/life goals? Let me know by commenting below and sharing your perspective.
Have you been watching the Olympics? I’ve loved watching the Winter and Summer Olympics since I was a kid. The “best of the best” athletes from all over the world are competing in over 100 winter events, giving their very best effort.
Olympic athletes are the epitome of the power of intention and focused effort. These athletes spent the last four years training day and night so they could earn the right to compete against the very best athletes in their specific sports. These athletes compete in only one sport and often in just one event. Every waking moment for four years is spent preparing for their event which often lasts only a minute or two. They’re even preparing while they sleep by visualizing their event over and over.
For those of you that remember the opening sequence of ABC’s Wide World of Sports (yes, I’m that old). The video sequence shows athletes succeeding and failing as the announcer dramatically quotes “the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat… the human drama of athletic competition…”
This is what the power of intention and focused effort is all about. Athletes spend their entire life preparing for their event which leads to incredible elation or crushing defeat in a matter of seconds.
What would your life or business be like if you focused all of your effort and intention like Olympic athletes do?
During last nights broadcast, Tom Brokaw did an amazing documentary about the Cold War and intense competition between the United States and Russia. The story began after World War II when Russia began building up it’s military force and developed long-range missiles. The US ramped up the development of long-range missiles and eventually both countries had over 6000 missiles pointed at each other. The power of focused effort at work.
The Cold War also turned into the space race of the 1950’s and 60’s. Growing up, I loved watching Walter Cronkite narrating every minute of the early space flights. It was amazing to watch the huge rockets blast off sending our astronauts into space.
One of the most amazing examples of the power of intention and focused effort in my lifetime was when John F. Kennedy declared in 1961 that we would land a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
If you weren’t around when he made that announcement, you wouldn’t know how bold of a declaration that was. You see, in 1961 computers barely existed. The engineers that designed and built the spacecrafts used sliderules, not computers to do their calculations. In fact, the calculator didn’t even exist at that time.
For the US to design and build a spacecraft that could get to the moon and return was just amazing. To accomplish that feat in just a few years with very little technology is even more amazing.
The feat was accomplished because John F. Kennedy set the intention that we were going to achieve this aggressive goal by the end of the decade. The country rallied around his intention and a focused, coordinated effort helped us achieve that goal in July 1969. I believe the fact that we were out to “beat the Russians” kept us motivated and focused on our goal. This is an important factor to consider. We’ve all gotten excited and been motivated to achieve a goal but most of the time we run out of steam after the initial surge of adrenaline and never achieve the goal. Can you stay New Year’s resolutions?
The infamous quote by Neil Armstrong “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” sums up the magnitude of this accomplishment. Landing a man on the moon has been in the dreams of people forever and always seemed impossible. A long, focused effort and a single intention helped us overcome the impossible and technology has been advancing at lightening speed ever since.
To me, looking back on the Cold War era, there was such a sense of teamwork and focus by our entire country because we had to beat the Russians, no matter what it took. We had a united cause and mission unlike today where our country is deeply divided. This proves to me that when you set an intention and focus your effort, anything is possible.
I’ve been talking with a lot of clients, members of my No Nonsense Mastermind and business owners who signed up for my free strategy sessions. Many of them are frustrated that their marketing isn’t working. The good news is they’re marketing. The bad news is they don’t have a marketing strategy and aren’t tracking their campaigns.
If you don’t know where you are going, how do you know how to get there?
I’ve met countless struggling business owners over the years who say they don’t have time or can’t afford to market. Have you ever seen a successful business that didn’t market effectively? If you don’t invest time and effort into marketing your business, your chances of success drop significantly. That’s why most businesses fail within five years.
I’ve met other business owners who expect instant results when they start their marketing campaigns. You can get instant results in some cases, like selling B2C,but it’s much more difficult when you’re selling B2B. If you sell products and services to other businesses, you know it takes time to build a relationship with a prospect. They won’t buy from you until they know you, like you and trust you. That’s hard to do with one click on an ad and a landing page if they aren’t familiar with your business.
The biggest reasons your marketing may be failing include:
1. You don’t have a well-documented marketing strategy
2. You aren’t measuring your results and/or split-testing
3. You aren’t advertising in the right places
4. You aren’t offering the right whitepaper or video
5. You don’t have a consistent brand message
6. You aren’t spending enough money on your marketing
7. You aren’t marketing consistently
Marketing is a journey, not a destination!
It takes time to develop your marketing strategy and find the messaging that resonates with your audience. You have to constantly test new messaging and ad content until you find the winner that attracts prospects and turns them into customers. Once you find the winner, you need to continue testing additional messaging to see if you can beat your control messaging.
Marketing is a never-ending process of testing, measuring, testing and measuring again. You can’t rush great marketing but once you find your winning message, you’ll quickly see results including an increase to your bottom line. Nothing makes you feel better than seeing that bottom line taking off!
For more marketing tips, visit my website at www.tedprodromou.com. Download a free chapter of my LinkedIn or Twitter book and you’ll be notified of my monthly webinars where I’ll show you what’s working now.
LinkedIn is releasing an updated version of Who’s Viewed Your Profile. If you have a Premium LinkedIn account, you know the value of knowing who’s been viewing your profile. When I post content and attract new visitors to my profile, I know I’ve caught their attention for some reason. If that person comes back to my profile when I post similar content, I know I’ve struck a nerve. I’ll take a look at their profile to see if we have similar interests or if they’re a potential client. Once I find something we have in common, I’ll reach out to them and see if they want to connect. When I send a personalized invitation stating what we have in common or why I want to connect with them, they accept my invitation 9 out of 10 times.
Here’s a short video showing you the new, expanded version of Who’s Viewed My Profile. Leave a Comment and let me know how you use this powerful feature of LinkedIn.