Anyone who knows me, or reads my blog, knows I’m all about hard work, dedication, determination and persistence. Why? Because that’s how you get results. And at the end of the day, it’s all about results. I work until it hurts, then I push harder. And if that isn’t enough, I do it again and again until I get the results that I’m looking for.
Here’s the problem with that: lots of people misunderstand the meaning of ‘hard work.’ They don’t focus on the right things, and they lose their balance, which can lead to disaster. Working hard also means working smart. It means making wise decisions about what to do, how to do it, who to delegate to, and how to manage your time. Some people might think this sounds like taking the easy way out, like being lazy. But those people are wrong. It is possible to have tremendous, unheard of success AND have a balanced life.
I learned this lesson in both my career and in my personal life. When I was just starting out in my career, I was single-minded. I had one goal and one goal only, and that was to build an ad agency, “Zimmerman,” like no other. It would be the first of its kind: a business solutions firm that just happened to do advertising. I would operate this agency under a Brandtailing philosophy, focusing on the outcome of our work rather than the output of our work.
Everything I did from the time I woke up in the morning until I went to bed at night (if I slept at all) was dedicated to this purpose. From a professional standpoint, it meant business was booming – I did very well, very quickly. However, on a personal front, things were not nearly as good. While I was enjoying incredible success with my agency, things outside of work were out of balance. Each of us picks our life partner for different reasons. I learned that in order to be successful, you have to pick a partner that has the same personal and business goals as you. When I failed to do that, when I lost that balance, my family life suffered. I consider myself very fortunate to have found the perfect woman – we have now been married for ten years. She is a great wife and mother. She supports all of my business goals and dreams, and I support hers. Together, we are united in our dreams and goals. Not having a true partner in life that shares your aspirations isn’t a healthy way to live.
The same thing is true of your professional life. When I was building Zimmerman, I thought I needed a bunch of ‘Jordans’ running around to get things done. I figured out pretty quickly I was wrong. A bunch of ‘Jordans’ would have meant spontaneous combustion for the agency! What I needed was a team that balanced and complemented me. I needed people that shared my vision and goals but also brought their own skill sets to the table. Most entrepreneurs fail because they think nobody can do it as good as they can. It took me awhile to realize that if I surrounded myself with a great team, and empowered that team and delegated to that team, ultimately we would all be more successful. I’m proud to say that I have a fantastic executive management team that has been with me for years. They are very different from me in many ways. But together, we form one incredible united team.
So build what balances you, no matter what you’re doing. In the end, you’ll be able to achieve far more by maintaining that sense of balance. And you’ll lead a happier, more fulfilled life. Take it from someone who’s been there…