Who’s ready to get a little bit better today? One of the conversations I have with a ton of people is, “Great Mark, you’re doing all this stuff, but how in the world do you balance work and family? How do you balance impacting people’slives, but not sacrificing your own spouse, your relationship with your kids?” I will be the first to say, I am still learning this, but I have found some things that seem to help the process a little bit.
Here’s the first thing: I don’t aim for balance. I believe balance is a myth. Balance is unattainable. If you have a job, if you’re building a business, then you’re gonna be spending 40. 50. 60, 70 hours at work or building your business; then you’re going to be spending this little bit of time in the evenings with your family and on the weekends. By it’s true definition, that’s not balanced at all!
I prefer to talk about rhythm, because rhythm is something we can attain. Rhythm accounts for the ebbs and flows of life. We can create rhythm and it changes every now and then. And then we can get back in rhythm. But balance, it’s a myth. It’s something out there that we’re never really going to be able to achieve. So I don’t aim for it, I aim for rhythm. How do we create rhythm in our family and work?
When you’re with your family make sure you’re there. A statement, I heard Jesse Itzler say is this: “Wherever your feet are, be there.” Such a good quote! Wherever your feet are, wherever your two feet are, be right there. Be present in that moment. If you’re on your phone, you’re present with someone else on the other side of the country, the other side of the world, you’re not being present with your family.
If you want to create that rhythm, when you are with your family, be with them, be fully present. And when you’re with them, be intentional in that space. So have the conversations, ask the questions, say the things. Your voice, as a father, as a mother, is one of the most important voices in your children’s lives. Use your voice for your children.
Your voice as a spouse, you know what, I’m a man, and I’m married to an amazing, amazing woman and I can tell you… There is no one on the planet with more influence over your husband than you. Sure, some of you will say it doesn’t seem that way. Let me tell you, your voice matters more to him than anybody else’s. When you speak life into him, when you respect, when you encourage, when you thank and appreciate him… it brings life. When my wife speaks those words to me (my love language is words of affirmation, it’s like up here in the top of the list, and hers is like way down here, so that doesn’t come naturally to her, but she’s worked at it), I feel like I can take over the world. So ladies, use your voice for your husbands.
Over-communicate your expectations, what your spouse’s expectations are of you. I’m not going to continue to filter, ’cause I’m a man. So, I might talk about husbands doing this; get it right. Over-communicate your expectations. Find out what her expectations are of you. Over-communicate about your calendar. Over-communicate about the future. Over-communicate about what’s going on in your head.
Hey ladies, guess what? We can’t read your mind; so you have got to communicate. Husbands, they can’t read your mind. You must open your mouth and tell them. Over-communicate, over-communicate, over-communicate, and that will help you create that rhythm. It can also enhance the rhythm you already have!
How do you maintain a rhythm? Schedule it; put it on the calendar. I have a date night here. I am picking up my kids there. I don’t pick up my kids and take my kids to school that often, but one day a week, they know that I’m going totake them to school. And then occasionally I will pick them up from school. I schedule that in my week. One, that’s for my kids, two, that’s for my wife, because my wife likes to sleep. She’s beautiful no matter how much sleep she gets, but she likes to sleep. And so one day a week, she gets to sleep in and I take the kids and that’s a gift to my kids, for quality time with them, and to my wife.
So put it on your calendar, whether it’s a date night, a vacation, a family fun outing, a canoe trip, a hiking trip, whatever it is, you’ve got to schedule it in. If it doesn’t get scheduled, it does not get done. And your family, by the way, will know that they are a priority to you when they are on the schedule.
There’s actually one thing right now that I need to schedule with my son. I kind of had a realization that I’m about to share this with you. The realization was that I’ve told him, hey, we’re going to do this. He wants to rent a fancy sports car from Turo. Turo is the Airbnb of cars, private owners renting their cars out. He wants to rent a fancy sports car from Turo. So I told him, we’ll do it, all right, we’re going to do it. We’re going to get some Ferrari or Aston Martin or something like that for a day, be a few hundred bucks for a day… And so I’ve told them we’re going to do that, but I’ve realized it’s not scheduled. And so he keeps asking when, when, when, and I keep saying, son, I promise you we’re going to do it. But until it’s scheduled, it’s not real to him.
Some of you have been promising some things, and it’s not real to your family because it’s not scheduled. On the contrary, sometimes I get it right. And we were on vacation a couple summers ago and I said, hey, next summer we should do it for a month. Like go on vacation at the beach for a month. And doggoned, if my wife didn’t grab hold of that. And from that moment, because it was planned, scheduledI had to figure out how to make that happen. And this last year for a month we went away in the summer. But it was real, because it had a timeframe attached to it. So schedule it, schedule it, schedule it.
Make the reward match the sacrifice; your family, you’re making a living, you’re building an empire, you’re impacting lives, you’re making a difference, but your family is making sacrifices so that you can do what you do, so that you can give your greatness to the world.
And everybody has their roles, as it should be, we can’t all do the same thing, but the sacrifices that your family makes, make the reward correlated to the sacrifice. When I’m in a phase of building, building, building, scaling, scaling, scaling, my family makes sacrifices. There’s a lot of phone calls, a lot of serving of other people, when my family takes second seat because I’m serving my clients, because I’m making a difference in the world? As the sacrifices increased, the rewards needed to increase.
And I give my coach, Chuck Balsamo, all the credit on this one, because he taught me this principle. That was part of why we ended up for a month going away to the beach because the reward had to match the sacrifice. And so that means literally: big vacations, big gifts, big experiences. And again, commiserate to the sacrifice of the reward. Your definition of big is different than my definition of big. That doesn’t matter. Some of you might be thinking, I’m not going to rent an Aston Martin and take my son out on that. But you know what? My son’s made a lot of sacrifices, and I haven’t been there occasionally. And so that’s a reward that matches the sacrifice that he’s made. And I want him to know that he matters, that he’s more important than anything, any business I could build, that everything I do, I do it for him.
So four ways that you can create that rhythm between work and family… I hope these were helpful to you. If they were, give me a little comment, tell me which one you are going to apply. Tell me how you’re going to do it in your life. Now you should go out there and give your greatness to the world because somebody needs what’s on the inside of you. So go out there and give it away. Don’t hold it back, they need you.