Avoid Self-Sabotage: Balance Your Life
by Dave Anderson
I know of many professionals in sales and management who were on the fast track to the highest levels of success but failed to reach it. No one got in their way, no one held them back, and no one plotted to keep them from reaching the pinnacle. Instead, these people could not get out of their own way. They self-destructed because they failed to maintain a balance in four key areas of their life. Consider these three points of balancing your life and give yourself a check-up to see how you’re doing. If you’re out of whack in any area, go to work to get on course now! You cannot sustain nor increase your success in life for long without balance:
Do you balance production with increasing your capacity to produce? Too many high achievers get so wrapped up in producing, they fail to increase their capacity to produce: to keep going. Your capacity to produce includes upgrading your skills through training, maintaining solid relationships at work and home, rest, physical exercise, finding strength by connecting with a higher power and taking the time to reflect on your life often and make necessary adjustments. When you ignore or impair your capacity to produce, a decline in your production and quality of life follow right behind. Vince Lombardi was right when he said that fatigue makes cowards of us all. When you’re consumed, you become more tentative, less willing to risk, de-energized and less vital in all aspects of your life. Your motivation drains. Faith walks out when fatigue walks in.
Continually balance the four key areas of your life. These areas are mental: what you learn and competencies you improve in any area. Learning is motivating and improves your self-esteem. It’s vital to balance. The next area is physical: the care you take of your body by what you eat and how you exercise. A breakdown here drains energy and makes you less vital in your job and relationships. The third area to balance is spiritual: whatever you do to connect with a higher power. This gives you faith and inner strength. It focuses you on a bigger picture than today that helps you get through the immediate setbacks, disappointments and letdowns. The fourth area is emotional: the state of relationships you have with family, friends and co-workers. Solid relationships are necessary to fully develop as a person. They give you a chance to give to others and grow together. A letdown in any of these four areas affects the rest of your performance. They are all connected and must be maintained. While you may never in your life find yourself in a state of “perfect balance”, the key is to continually reflect and make adjustments in seeking that harmonious state.
Burnout does not just result from long, hard work. We all know plenty of people who work very long and hard and never burn out. Burnout most often results from stress caused when you get out of balance in one or more of the four areas just listed. You can work as long and hard as you like and never “burn out” when you address these four areas.
Know this one thing for sure. You cannot escape the penalties of failing to balance your life. It will catch you and stop you: regardless of who you are, what you do or the position you hold. No one is immune. You cannot outrun it or stay above it. Instead, slow down and face the fact that while striving for balance in these four areas is challenging and takes a lot of work, the cost for not doing so is staggering and can cause damage you may never be able to reverse. Besides, when you address these four areas as a discipline, life is more enjoyable, you are more vital and have a greater impact on every person and to each organization you interact with. You go from being a potential “flash in the pan” to a valuable, well-rounded success in all aspects of life: and more importantly, one who lasts.
© Copyright 1999-2004, The Dave Anderson Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Dave Anderson is the author of over 50 sales and management training programs and the book, Selling Above The Crowd: 365 Strategies For Sales Excellence. He writes a monthly leadership column for Dealer Magazine and publishes the newsletter, Leading At The Next Level. Dave is president of the Dave Anderson Corporation, and LearntoLead.com, a sales and leadership training organization.
You can reach Dave at:
The Dave Anderson Corporation
PO Box 1119
Los Altos, CA 94023
Phone: 800-519-8224 650-941-1493 (Canada, Int’l)