For years now, we’ve heard a lot of people talking about the so-called “work/life balance” problem. There actually is a problem here … but most people haven’t identified what it really is.
When I was launching this agency, I had to make a hell of a lot of personal sacrifices: living with my parents, not getting a paycheck, taking lots of time away from my family. You name it, I didn’t have all the “balance” I could have had — but that was because I knew I was committed to turning my dream into reality for myself and my family. Did I miss things when my kids were young? Yes. But I also know I wouldn’t have been true to myself if I hadn’t followed my own dream and gone for it 100 percent during those years. I wasn’t going to turn 40 or 50 and say, “Wish I would have. I know I could have.” I don’t regret a thing.
I’ve had discussions with my family about how much it takes to make your dream a reality. The older kids see that greatness in life takes sacrifices. I think they understand that we all played a role in creating the success we’re experiencing now. The point is: If you make the right decisions and commit to the right goals at the beginning, you can have all the balance you want later on.
When you’re young and you’re trying to establish yourself, you really don’t have balance between your career and your home life, and you shouldn’t expect to have that. Why not? Because you’re trying to expedite your career. You’re trying to prove yourself, make a name for yourself, and establish a personal brand for yourself. Youth is when you have the most energy to do that. So at that point, you really don’t want to assume you’re going to have that much of a work-life balance, at least not if you’re serious about launching a career. At that early stage of your adult life, you should find a way to spend more time on your career, so you can have a better work-life balance as you get older. And you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
A lot of people don’t stop and think about this. Too many young people today are used to getting everything they want, immediately. They’re not used to making sacrifices, which is why I call them the “trophy generation.” As kids they got a trophy for everything – they didn’t get a trophy for winning, they got a trophy for just showing up. Now as young adults, they want to have this work-life balance going INTO their careers. They think it’s part of the job description from the day they start. If you are going to ask in a job interview “what’s the work/life balance?” – DON’T.
That’s not the way the world works. You don’t get balance in the beginning. You get sacrifice in the beginning … if you want greatness at the end.