In 2011, in addition to running a $15M business with a couple hundred employees, I found myself attempting to close two acquisitions within a matter of weeks of each other. Not only did I find myself exhausted, I found myself continually dropping balls – mostly on the home front.
Having told my 8 year old son that I would coach his baseball team, I felt guilty for missing more than a handful of his practices games. Entering the playoffs, I promised him I would be there, coaching third base, for the rest of the season
One game into my promise, I was hit with a brutal challenge. The second, more complex acquisition hit a snag. And, having delayed closing, the snag now jeopardized the entire deal. It was essential that we resolve the issue, which required lawyers from DC, Delhi and London, on a conference call, over the weekend. And, as luck would have it, 9:00am, just 30 minutes after the start of Joseph’s 2nd round playoff game, was the only time that everyone could be on the phone.
Refusing to renege on my promise, I decided to coach 3rd base. Refusing to fall short of my responsibilities as an executive, I refused to not show up for the call. I took the call from 3rd base.
That morning taught me a very important lesson. I’m a father even when I’m in the board room. I’m a husband even when I’m traveling. I’m a CEO even when I’m tucking my kids into bed at night. I am an integrated person and you can not have one part of me without the rest.
Since that time, instead of letting each of my responsibilities compete with one another, I have embraced the reality that I am me. I do whatever I can to find synergies between these roles and to integrate them together. Last year brought my 14-year-old daughter to India. The year before, I took my 7-year-old son to a speaking engagement and several years back, I took my 13-year-old daughter to a board meeting. I’ve taken conference calls on vacation and thrown caution to the wind as I drove a convertible through the mountains on a business trip just because I needed to let my hair down and have some me time.
If you want to succeed in all aspects of your life, stop trying to let them compete against each other. The problem with work-life balance is that it pits one aspect of yourself against the others. I choose to – Live an Integrated Life.