There are so many thoughts going through my head this week it is tough to get them all down to get this blog rolling. One of the first things I want to do is to lay out the framework of what Complete Fulfillment means. I work a lot and I take a ton on responsibility for what I do. I am currently running a startup within a larger company which has totally consumed me over the last 9 months. I would like to say that is not normal but taking on a ton has been a constant theme over my career.
As I mentioned in a previous post
I had a very eye opening week at a class at Harvard recently. Out of that for me came Complete Fulfillment. I realized that I have long struggled with the balance of all the areas of my life but had never found a good way to really be better about getting them in balance. They always tend to be 90% work and 10% everything else. I have worked with an executive coach (one of the great resources I have at Tripwire). Her name is Karin Kolodziejski
- she has probably been the most impactful people on my professional career. Many of the things we have chatted about have directly overlapped with my personal life. As many conversations as we have had over the years I have still never been able to effectively balance things out over any period of time.
The class I took at Harvard was on leadership with some of the top professors on the subject and the most surprising thing about the week for me was that they talked about soft skills most of the time. What I realized was that for me to perform at the highest level at work and enjoy life to the fullest I needed to balance things out better.
One of the concepts that helped my thoughts about this was something my wife and I tried with our kids. I have two great daughters (and now a son) and as for most parents every day is a new challenge. As parents, my wife and I try different techniques to see if they work. A while back we made jars with the girls names on them and we had a bunch of rocks. The idea was when they did good things they would get a rock in the jar. For example - when our 2 year old would go on the potty she would get a rock. If they washed their hands without being told they would get a rock. If they asked nicely and said please they would get a rock and so on. If they did something bad they would get a rock or rocks taken out. If they hit each other, threw a fit, etc. rocks would come out. If they filled the jar to a certain level they would get to go to build a bear and get a new stuffed animal.
What does this have to do with life balance? A lot. I started thinking about life in this same framework. Each week you are given only so much time. That is finite and you can't change it. The objective is to spend the week filling up your jar with as many rocks as you can through positive experiences and minimize the number of rocks you have to take out from negative experiences. If you can maximize this over time you can achieve Complete Fulfillment.
When I applied this to myself I realized that I spend much of the week filling up my jar with rocks from work. The problem is that also beat myself up because I am exhausted each night for my kids. I eat like crap. I don't work out. I don't spend any time reading my bible or praying. All of these other areas of life I neglect and they cause me stress because I feel like I should be doing them. As a result I take rocks out of the jar. Work is also stressful because of the shear mass of the project we are taking on and the amount of responsibility I put on myself about it. Don't get me wrong about work - I like my job and vWire is very exciting but the net impact is that I don't fill up the jar very much.
The next few posts I will lay out some more of the concepts I have been mulling over the past month.
- All rocks are not the same size.
- Rocks change size over time.
- Time is not variable.
- The categories of life.
- This is a game of math not judgement.